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Fire sparks inside basement of Marcal Paper plant; no injuries reported

The Marcal Paper plant previously experienced a major fire in January of 2019.

Chris Keating

Jul 5, 2024, 5:51 PM

Updated 12 days ago

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A fire at the Marcal Paper plant in Elmwood Park caused some damage Friday afternoon. This is the same plant that was destroyed in a massive fire in 2019.
Elmwood Park police say the fire started within a conveyor belt that was moving paper located in a processing plant that was in a basement within the complex.
That basement processing plant is mainly concrete and steel and is tucked away with the other buildings that make up the industrial complex.
Fully aware of the history of fire at this plant, there was a large response of firefighters and first aid squads when the call for help came in at 12:30 p.m.
“The issue was it was hard to get to. Not necessarily the fire. It was in a basement under a conveyor belt, and there was some machinery in the way for our firefighters to get to,” said Police Chief Mike Foligno.
Because it was so hot in Elmwood Park Friday afternoon, there was a serious concern for the firefighters - many of whom became dehydrated. Crews were rotated so that there were no serious injuries. Temperatures reached the upper-80s outside.
It was on Jan. 30, 2019, that a massive fire destroyed the factory - 30 of the 36 buildings that stood on the property were destroyed.
It was cold and extremely windy that night, which fueled the fire and kept it going for hours.
Foligno was there that night and recalls the conditions.
“It was the coldest windiest day of the year and it just felt wrong and it took off from there,” Foligno said. “Mainly due to the elements.”
Friday’s situation was a lot different. The fire was contained in one area and the flames were put out relatively quickly. No injuries were reported.
Statement from a spokesperson for Marcal:
“Earlier today, our team noticed smoke coming from under a steel plate in an area of our property not near our paper machines. As part of our standard operating procedures, our local fire department and town officials were contacted to assist us with the matter. The smoke developed into what we believed could be a small fire that was not easily accessed. Due to the skill of the fire department, we were able to remove a steel plate blocking access to the area and quickly eliminated the risk. The source of the fire was a spark from regular maintenance work being conducted in the area.
We are thankful that no Marcal associates were injured and we will not have any material disruption of operations. We also thank the local fire departments for promptly arriving on scene and helping our team extinguish the smoke and area where the spark occurred.”


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