Hundreds of Marcal employees jobless after factory burns down

Posted: Updated:

Hundreds of employees of a New Jersey-based business are now out of a job after the factory burned to the ground.

A devastating fire destroyed the iconic Marcal Paper Mill factory that has stood in Elmwood Park since 1932. The fire burned for hours Wednesday. Demolition crews have begun to tear down the rubble.

The factory is owned by Soundview Paper Company. CEO Rob Baron put out a plea to Gov. Phil Murphy and Bergen County officials asking for help on behalf of his employees.

“We will need help. We have 500 people we have to try to take care of,” he said.

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Fire officials say that what started as a mundane fire, quickly crew out of control due to strong winds and below-freezing temperatures.

Former Marcal employee Nubia Quimbay says that it was difficult to watch the news coverage of the fire.

“I didn’t know if I should cry or pray,” she says.

Quimbay worked quality control on the line, examining napkins and paper towels from 1969 until 2018. She worked for Bob Marcalus, son of company founder Nicholas Marcalus. She was the first female union representative for the company and even went to Trenton with Bob Marcalus to request help when the company filed for bankruptcy.

“Marcal was my second home. I stayed more time at Marcal than my own house,” she says.

Quimbay says that she is afraid to go back to the site to see what’s left of Marcal.

“I’m afraid to go because I’m going to cry. But I have to see it with my own eyes,” she says.

Soundview Paper says in a statement that the company is working to have financial support for the employees secured in the upcoming days.

“We do not know today what the long-term future of our company will be. We do know this; we will continue to make supporting our team members the top priority,” the statement read.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it is believed to be accidental. No injuries were reported.

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