United States

Marcal Paper fire: 90 percent of site gone, but nobody was injured

Despite Wednesday’s eight-alarm blaze at Marcal Paper Mills burning so fiercely the fire could be seen from an incoming airplane, there were no injuries reported as of Thursday morning, officials said.

No injuries were reported, said Police Chief and Borough Administrator Michael Foligno at a 10 a.m. press conference at Borough Hall. The fire almost completely incinerated the paper factory, with 90 percent of the complex’s footprint gone, he said.

Although authorities are still investigating, Foligno said the fire does not appear to be suspicious.

“There’s nothing to lead us to believe there is anything suspicious, but that remains to be seen,” Foligno said.

Gov. Phil Murphy was expected to get a tour of the factory’s ruins and have a press conference Thursday afternoon.

There was no indication that hazardous materials were involved in the fire, said Larry Hajna, spokesman for the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP’s Bureau of Emergency Response was on scene to help local fire and emergency management, he said.

The DEP was in the process of establishing air monitoring, Hajna said. During the height of the fire, the smoke was rising thousands of feet in the air and dispersing, preventing monitoring the air from the ground level.

On Thursday morning, with temperatures dropping to 2 degrees, some of the buildings in the area were glazed in ice, as smoke still emanated from the Marcal ruins. Firefighters were still dousing some of the site’s hotspots, said Foligno. There were still flames at certain areas of the building, he said.

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