Photo by Bill Tompkins. MORE >>
Photo: Tony Greco
Video: Tony Greco
The Marcal Paper Plant, a battleground against numerous small and not-so-small fires over the decades, was mostly destroyed Wednesday night as a massive blaze tore through the historic factory on the Passaic River in Elmwood Park.
Despite the efforts of hundreds of firefighters in below zero wind chills, the plant’s large red sign, a North Jersey landmark for decades, collapsed along with the iconic red brick building the held it aloft alongside Route 80 for millions of passing motorists throughout the years.
The Elmwood Park neighborhood that forms a semi-circle around the sprawling plant found itself inundated with falling paper embers and choking smoke as firefighters ordered the evacuation of several homes. Traffic slowed to a crawl on Route 80, with one motorist reporting on Twitter that the temperature gauge in his car spiked by about 50 degrees as he passed the plant, an indication of the intensity of the paper-fueled fire.
A plume of smoke from the massive fire could be seen on radar as far away as the South Shore of Long Island, as video after video from the scene showed flames shooting from the roof of the 86-year-old plant, and explosions of propane tanks could be heard. No injuries were reported.
Drone video of fire’s aftermath.
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Thumbnail photo courtesy of Tony Greco.