Year after catastrophic fire, Marcal paper plant reopens

ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. (AP) — A northern New Jersey paper plant is operating again, a year after a massive fire destroyed most of it.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy was among the guests Friday at the Marcal plant in Elmwood Park for a ceremony at one of the few buildings that wasn't leveled by the January 2019 fire.

“We need to get back to work,” Marcal CEO Rob Baron told The Record on Friday.

Marcal's resumption of operations was made possible through a merger with Lewistown, Pennsylvania-based Nittany Paper Mills.

Investigators conducted more than 100 interviews and concluded that the fire started in a building where large rolls of paper were stored, but they have been unable to determine the cause due to the extensive damage. The fire destroyed 30 of 36 buildings as well as Marcal's familiar red sign visible from Interstate 80. Demolition at the site began last August. About 500 people lost their jobs.

The Bergen County prosecutor's office has said arson isn't suspected.


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