PaperAge Magazine

Soundview Paper's Marcal Paper Mill in Elmwood Park, NJ Destroyed by Fire

Marcal paper mill fire Firefighters continued to pump water on hotspots on the morning of Jan. 31 in what was left of the Marcal paper mill after a raging fire devated most of the 30-acre complex.

Feb. 4, 2019 - A massive fire swept through Soundview Paper's Marcal paper mill in Elmwood Park, New Jersey, on the night of January 30, burning some 90 percent of the paper mill complex to the ground.

No injuries were reported and Soundview Paper's president and CEO, Rob Baron, confirmed that none of the nearly 200 employees working at the mill at the time of the fire were injured.

"Our sole focus is our people," Baron said the day following the fire. "That's the most important thing we have in that building."

According to news reports, the fire started in one of the warehouses where finished goods and parent rolls of paper are stored.

Elmwood Park Police Chief Michael Foligno said the frigid weather and “whipping” winds escalated what started out as a typical fire to one that quickly grew out of control.

“It's a paper mill, right, so they have their 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,” Foligno told reporters the day after the fire. “I firmly believe that had the wind not been the way it was last night, we wouldn't even be talking right now.”

It was reported that temperatures dropped to around nine degrees in Elmwood Park that night and the wind was gusting at times to nearly 30 mph.

Marcal paper mill fire An undated photo of the Marcal paper mill with its iconic red sign visible for years along Route 80 in New Jersey.

Local news reports say 30 of the 36 buildings on the 30-acre site were demolished as well as the mill's iconic red sign visible for years along Route 80.

The business employed about 500 people.

“The full extent of the damage to our facility is not yet known, but we know the impact will be incalculable to the lives of our dedicated workers and our business as a whole," Baron said.

"Our top priority in the coming days and weeks will be to support our associates at Marcal whose lives will be directly impacted by this disaster," he added.

The Marcal mill manufactured bath tissue, paper towels, napkins and facial tissue for customers in the Private Label, Away-From-Home, Office and At-Home markets. The facility was also fully integrated with deinking and converting capabilities.

Soundview Paper has posted a message to the Elmwood Park community on its website:

SOURCE: New Jersey news reports and Soundview Paper