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Charlotte Area News

Recycling Plant Fire: One Of Charlotte's Largest In Decades

Ben Bradford

Charlotte firefighters have spent nearly a full day extinguishing a fire at a burning paper recycling plant in west Charlotte.

The Charlotte Fire Department got its first call yesterday afternoon; a Charlotte recycling plant, owned by Caraustar, had caught fire. Between the hot weather and the flammable materials, it quickly grew from trash fire to five-alarm blaze, says Battalion Chief Mike Mitchum.

“It’s card board, paper board, that kind of stuff. Just because it’s piled so high, so deep, and the material is so dense, it makes it a real challenge to actually get extinguishing agent and water on the fire to everything that's burning,” says Mitchum. “So we have to break it apart, into smaller manageable pieces and move it around to make sure it extinguishes.”

Crews contained the fire at 8:30 last night, and Mitchum expects to extinguish it by 3:00.

So far, the effort has required more than 200 firefighters. No injuries have been reported, although almost 40 firefighters were treated for dehydration.

Mitchum says it’s one of the two largest fires he remembers since a 1994 plane crash in Charlotte, with the other an apartment fire

The cause remains unknown, but the Fire Department has labeled it “accidental” in its preliminary investigation.