The Marcal Paper Plant, a battlefield for many small and not so small fires in decades, was mostly destroyed on Wednesday evening as a massive cover through the historic plant on the Passaic River in Elmwood Park.
Despite hundreds of firefighters' efforts under zero wind chills, the factory's large red sign, the North Jersey landmark for decades, collapsed with the iconic red brick building, where it was held alongside route 80 by millions of long drivers over the years.
In the area around Elmwood Park, which forms a semicircle around a fuzzy plant, it was found to be flooded with falling papers and smoke, as firemen ordered the evacuation of several houses. Traffic slowed down to the 80s search, and one driver reported on Twitter that his car's temperature gauge, leaving the station, was about 50 degrees, indicating the intensity of the fire.
The smoke from the massive fire could be seen on the radar as far as the south coast of Long Island, as the video after the video from the scene showed the flames that shot from the 86-year-old plant roof and the propane blast tanks could hear. No injuries were reported.
Michael Foligno, Elmwood Park police chief, said the firefighters were unable to control the blaze due to weather conditions and were allowed to burn themselves. The temperature in Elmwood Park dropped to nine degrees, starting at 12:00.
He said the embers spread to several nearby homes, resulting in small fires that quickly disappeared. Similarly, the smelly wrinkles landed on the roof of the municipal building and were carried out by firefighters.
He said that the house closest to the fire had been evacuated, and the city opened a district heating center in a holiday home.
The cause of the fire was still being studied on Wednesday evening.
Rob Baron, President and CEO of Soundview Paper Company, now headed by Marcal, said no one of the 200 employees working in the facility during the fire was hurt.
"The full extent of damage to our equipment is not yet known, but we know that the impact will be invaluable in the lives of our special workers and all our businesses," said Baron. "Our main priorities in the coming days and weeks will be to support our partners in Marcal, whose life will be directly affected by this disaster."
The plant was founded in 1932 by a paper producer Nicholas Marcalus, who arrived in the United States from Sicily as a teenager and continued to hold dozens of patents and in 1979 took over his son Robert. In 2008 and died in 2014.
The company grew by more than USD 200 million a year in the sales of paper towels and other products made entirely from recycled fibers, most of which were sold in the Northeast.
Soundview Paper Company owns a private investment company Atlas Holdings from Greenwich, Connecticut.
The site has a long history of fires, including the 2017 tasting, where more than 100 firefighters erased 5 alarms.
The crew was able to include the 2014 fire that started in the external storage area where the company retains the processed bales.
On January 9, a small fire was reported on the roof of the building, but it was controlled for about two hours.
Chris Sheldon can achieve email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrisrsheldon To find NJ.com Facebook.
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