Firefighters worked late into the night to contain a fire at a battery recycling facility Saturday.

The fire started at about 3 p.m. and batteries could be heard exploding for hours afterwords, according to witnesses.

“It scared me to death. It sounded like a bomb going off, or guns, real loud,” neighbor Ruth Ingle said, who had to be evacuated.

Another neighbor, Jason Browen, followed Ingle’s lead. “I saw Ms. Ruth getting ready to go, and was real upset. And she said 911 had advised her to go. So, we decided to go as well,” Browen said.

Witnesses said the battery explosion could be heard from miles away.

Firefighters evacuated residents within a block-and-a-half radius of the facility and told them to steer clear of the thick, billowing smoke.

“We’re not sure of what the chemical composition is that we’re dealing with and we want to make sure that we don’t make the problem and any worse, and we’ll be taking care of live safety first,” Ronnie Cowart with the Cartersville Fire Department said.

Firefighters said it took them two hours before they could enter the business called Metal Conversion Technologies, but even then crews faced and uphill battle.

“We do have a fire on the exterior of the structure, under an attachment there, that we are having to allow to burn out, because it’s a water reactive material and we’re not able to put it out yet,” Cowart said.

Firefighters were still trying to figure out how many chemicals were involved in the fire. Investigators said nickle cadmium and lithium were involved.

Crews were still investigating what sparked the fire.