ELMWOOD PARK, NJ - One of the oldest environmentally friendly paper companies in the United States, and an iconic New Jersey landmark, has burned down.
For over five decades Marcal’s glowing red sign high atop the now destroyed building told passersby of their proximity to the City of Paterson.
“Just beyond our border Marcal has been a part of the Paterson community for decades, putting generations of Patersonians to work," Mayor Andre Sayegh told TAPinto while also praising the Paterson Fire Department for "teaming up with their counterparts from other towns to prevent the fire from entering an area filled with chemical and power plants.
The site has seen previous small fires and the occasional large fires in the historic factory but on Wednesday, during one of the coldest nights in recent, a cluster of smoke and towering flames engulfed the area leaving nothing but rubble in its wake.
Sayegh also confirmed that his office will do what they can to assist displaced worker saying that "just as our city is entering a second act, I'm confident there will be a new chapter in the iconic company's history and we lend our full weight to assisting those that have now job to go to today."
“I always knew I was close to home when I saw the illuminated MARCAL sign,” Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-35) said in a statement. "People who earned a living, provided for their families and sent their children to college by working at that plant. To see it in such devastating flames is heartbreaking."
While nearly 200 employees were working at the time of the fire none were injured, Rob Baron, president and CEO of Soundview Paper Company, the mill’s and property’s owner, reported that none were injured. Despite the conditions which forced firefighters to allow the flames to put themselves out and spead and caused the evacuation of several nearby homes, Baron also thanked the hundreds of first responders that were on the scene, including the Paterson Fire Department, for risking their lives in the effort.
“Aiding the Marcal workers and their families will definitely require a comprehensive, community effort, and I will do whatever I can to assist legislatively and personally to offer my assistance,” Wimberly added.
Marcal has a history as a generous neighbor supporting many community causes including a 2017 grant award of $7500 to Boys and Girls Club of Paterson and Passaic.
The cause of the blaze is under investigation.
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