Iconic Marcal sign falls during icy factory fire
ELMWOOD PARK — Fire crews remained all night at a fire at the Marcal Paper factory that grew to 10 alarms.
Fire crews from around the area were called late Wednesday afternoon to the Marcal Paper Mills in Elmwood Park. They battled the blaze for several hours amid frigid temperatures, but were unable to save the structure, which is being allowed to burn itself out.
The iconic, neon "Marcal" sign that has been atop the building since the 1940s collapsed late Wednesday night when the roof caved in.
Roughly 200 people work at the mill, but it's not clear how many were there when the fire broke out.
The biggest challenge for the firefighters is the bitter, 5-degree temperatures and the wind that makes it feel even colder.
"Our job is tough enough on a sunny day. You couple in the elements of the weather and the bitter cold, we had big-time problems with the water. We were bringing in water from different grids from different counties and different towns and had big-time freezing problems," Edwin Donnelly, New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association president, told New Jersey 101.5.
Donnelly said there is no special equipment used during a fire in cold conditions.
"Our equipment is the same whether it's 100 degrees or minus-10 degrees. Our equipment is our equipment," he said.
More than 100 firefighters battled the blaze since it began around 5 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.
More manpower is needed during cold weather fires, according to Donnelly, because the crews can't work for long periods of time. They are monitored to make sure they stay healthy while on duty.
No firefighters have been reported as being injured during the fire.
A cause of the fire has not yet been determined.
The fire is the second reported this month at the site. Another large fire occurred there in 2017.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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