HACKENSACK/ELMWOOD PARK, NJ -- Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella announced the results of the investigation into the fire at the Marcal Paper Company, 1 Market Street, Elmwood Park, NJ, on Thursday January 31, 2019. The investigation was conducted by
the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office under the direction of Chief Robert Anzilotti, the Elmwood Park Police Department under the direction of Chief Michael Foligno, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, National Response Team.
Both Hasbrouck Heights and Wood-Ridge Fire Departments provided mutual aid to the Elmwood Park firefighters in battling the multi-alarm blaze that destroyed buildings and the iconic Marcal Paper sign seen along Route 80.
According to the Prosecutor's Office, there is presently no indication that the fire was intentionally set. The cause of the fire cannot be determined at this time, and it will be classified as undetermined, pending further information.
The fire destroyed 31 of the 36 buildings located in the Marcal Paper Company Complex. The investigation was a large undertaking, including experts in the origin and cause of fire, interviewing, and technical experts in varying aspects of building construction. The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office requested the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, National Response Team, to assist with the investigation, specifically the cause and origin of the fire.
The location of the fire’s origin was determined to be in the northeastern most building on the southern side of the railroad tracks, known as building #41. The fire started in the storage area of section PM2, which stored large roles of paper used to make paper products for the company. Although the location of the origin of the fire was determined, the investigators were unable to determine the exact cause of the fire due to the extensive damage.
In addition to the scene investigation, investigators conducted over one hundred interviews of Marcal Paper employees, outside workers, neighbors and witnesses prior to the fire, as well as witnesses that observed different stages of the fire. The Marcal Paper Company fully cooperated with law enforcement in the investigation.
Anyone with information regarding the cause of this fire is encouraged to contact the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, Arson Squad at 201-226-5787, or the Elmwood Park Police Department at 201-796-0700.