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Immense fire destroys iconic Marcal Paper Mill factory in Elmwood Park

<p>A massive fire destroyed the iconic Marcal Paper Mill plant in Elmwood Park Wednesday afternoon.</p>

News 12 Staff

Jan 31, 2019, 4:58 PM

Updated 1,970 days ago


It was a historic landmark in northern New Jersey for eight decades and in just one day it was gone.
A massive fire destroyed the iconic Marcal Paper Mill plant in Elmwood Park Wednesday afternoon. The fire was driven by strong winds that blew across New Jersey and the efforts were hampered by extremely cold temperatures.
“We will do everything in our power to make sure Elmwood Park recovers, those affected get assistance and we will see that one day the iconic Marcal sign rises again,” says the Elmwood Park Council President Daniel Golabek.
It is estimated that nearly 300 first responders, many of them volunteers, helped to battle the fire. They faced historic conditions, both in terms of fighting the fire itself and the low temperatures and winds that accompanied the fight.
“It's a paper mill, right, so they have own fire brigade for a reason. Paper, paper dust, electrics and stuff. Fires happen, it's inevitable. Nothing catastrophic because their brigade is good and our fire department is outstanding,” says Elmwood Park Police Chief Michael Foligno. “I firmly believe that had the wind not been the way it was last night, we wouldn't even be talking right now.”
Foligno said that he has personally responded to dozens of fires at the mill, but he had never experienced anything like the fire Wednesday night.
State and town officials praised the first responders who fought the blaze and protected the nearby homes from burning embers. No injuries were reported during the fire.
But officials say that seeing the iconic Marcal Paper sign fall, along with the destruction of the business itself is devastating to the community. But they say that everyone will band together.
“It’s devastating. But this…is a community with an extraordinary spirit. And this is a company with a strong spirit that's had a few brushes with challenges and have recovered and gotten stronger. And I have no doubt the state, county and community and company will prove that again,” says Gov. Phil Murphy.
Gov. Murphy and other state officials came to Elmwood Park Thursday to tour the rubble and meet with Elmwood Park leaders and Marcal officials to help the 500 workers get back on their feet.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it is believed to have been accidental.

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