HACKENSACK/ELMWOOD PARK, NJ -- Investigators announced Monday that there is no indication that the fire that destroyed 31 of the 36 buildings located in the Marcal Paper Company Complex on January 31 was intentionally set. The cause of the fire, investigators say, cannot be determined and will be classfied as such pending further informaiton.
The investigation, according to Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella, 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, and included interviers with over 100 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, officials said.
Referring to several of the variables that impacted the fire, such as the weather conditions as a ‘perfect storm’, Rob Baron, President and Chief Executive Officer of Soundview Paper Company praised the efforts of the first responders that were on the scene.
"While we lost so much that night, including the company we knew, the company so many people had worked years to build and save, none of the 200 individuals in the building were injured. For that, we are very grateful."
The Paterson Fire Department was one of many area companies fight the flames that could be seen along Route 80, and, with many of the diplaced employees calling Paterson home several efforts were launched to provide job opportunities and other services in the weeks that followed.
Investigators determined that the fire originated in the northeastern most building on the southern side of the railroad tracks, known as building #41, with flames first erupting in the storage area of section PM2, which housed large roles of paper used to make paper products for the company.
Anyone with information regarding the cause of the 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.
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