Marcal Paper reopens in Elmwood Park 1 year after massive fire
An iconic New Jersey business is back up and running after a massive fire destroyed the complex one year ago.
The Jan. 30, 2019 fire destroyed Marcal Paper in Elmwood Park – a business that was a fixture since 1939. It officially reopened for business one year later, along with a reopening ceremony with Gov. Phil Murphy and state and company officials.
Candace Hector says that she is grateful to be back on the job again. She says she grew up seeing the iconic Marcal sign in Elmwood Park.
“This is like the Willy Wonka factory at the edge of the town,” she says. “You always see it.”
Hector says that she has only worked at the company for two months before the fire broke out.
“I was waiting, waiting. I knew they were going to rebuild. I knew it. I had it in my heart. This place has to rebuild,” she says.
Marcal has had its ups and downs. There was a bankruptcy, new ownership and then the fire.
“In eight hours, we lost 80 years of customers,” says CEO Rob Baron. “There is no magic bullet. There is no simple way to get back.”
Baron says that the company does not have the capacity to make paper towels and tissues from recycled paper in the same amount as before. He says that it will be a long road back.
The company now employs 100 people – 400 fewer than before the fire.
Attending Friday’s reopening was Peter Marcalus, whose grandfather founded Marcal Paper.
“It means everything. It’s part of my heritage. It’s part of my life,” he says.
Papermaking has resumed in the only building that survived the fire. The company hopes to be running seven days a week to meet demands.
The fire destroyed 31 buildings on the Marcal campus. Authorities say that it is unlikely they will be able to determine the cause of the fire because of the extensive damage.