Get AccuWeather alerts right in your browser!
Enable Notifications

Wind, frigid air hinder firefighting efforts of massive New Jersey paper plant fire

By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
January 31, 2019, 7:44:44 AM EST

More than 100 firefighters responded to a fire at a paper manufacturing in Bergen County, New Jersey, but strong winds and frigid temperatures made it difficult for them to extinguish the blaze.

Reports said the engines water lines froze amid temperatures in the single digits and AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures 15 to 20 below zero.

Residents who live near the Marcal Plant in Elmwood Park were evacuated from their homes as a safety precaution.

The fire caused heavy smoke conditions on area roads, and the ramp on I-80 to Exit 61 was closed in both directions.

The fire destroyed the paper plant's iconic sign, in addition to much of the building, according to

The blaze is being allowed to burn itself as firefighters were unable to contain it because of the weather, Elmwood Park Police Chief Michael Foligno said.

77 below zero? Polar vortex yields deadly cold as thousands endure power cuts, travel issues mount in Midwest
Shelters help to keep homeless out of extreme cold
Prolonged lake-effect snow event to bury eastern Great Lakes with feet of snow to end January

According to ABC 7, the fire broke out at about 5 p.m., Wednesday at the Marcal Paper Mills on Market Street in Elmwood Park and went to seven alarms.

Video from the scene shows flames erupting from the expansive industrial site.

“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,” Rob Baron, President and Chief Executive Officer of Soundview Paper Company, said in a statement. “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.”

On the heels of this blaze, firefighters battled another blaze at the Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey. Several vehicles caught on fire on Thursday morning.

Firefighters are facing temperatures near zero and gusty westerly winds of 10-15 mph. There can be gusts to 25 mph.

Report a Typo


Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.

More Weather News