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Huge Fire at Recycling Plant Could Take Days to Put Out

Dozens of fire departments are fighting the blaze at Atlantic Coast Fibers in Passaic, NJ
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 30, 2021 8:00 AM CST
Huge Fire at Recycling Plant Could Take Days to Put Out
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/PlotPhoto)

A massive fire engulfed a northern New Jersey recycling plant overnight and raged into Saturday morning as firefighters battled flames, frigid cold, and wind. The blaze broke out around midnight at the Atlantic Coast Fibers plant in Passaic, sending flames shooting into the dark as more than two dozen fire departments converged to fight them, officials said. There were at least two explosions, one involving a truck with gas tanks on it, Mayor Hector Lora said. Smoke continued to billow high into the sky after sunup, and Lora said firefighters were planning to tap the Passaic River for water to keep dousing an inferno that could take days to extinguish completely, per the AP.

"When you consider a recycling plant, everything inside is conducive for continuing to burn," he told WABC-TV in a phone interview, calling the building "a complete loss." He said one firefighter had been taken to a hospital with exhaustion, and another after a fall. The flames erupted on a "punch-you-in-the-face cold" night, as the mayor put it, with temperatures in the teens. Lora recommends that residents keep their windows shut to keep out the smell of burning plastic, per Atlantic Coast Fibers processes cardboard, paper, plastic containers, and other materials for recycling, according to its website. The family-run company dates back more than 80 years. It's not yet known what caused the blaze.

(Read more fire stories.)

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