FIRE DESTROYS RECYCLER

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HAVILAND, OHIO — An April 3 fire destroyed a plastics recycling operation, and forced the evacuation of an entire village.

The blaze wrecked the production facility and warehouse of Modern Plastic Recovery, a division of Haviland Drainage Products Inc., both of which are based in Haviland, about 80 miles southwest of Toledo, Ohio.

The fire was reported at about 10 a.m. Emergency personnel started evacuating the village at about 10:30 a.m. because of thick, black, low-lying smoke.

``We didn't know what was in [the smoke],'' said Randy Shaffer, director of the Paulding County Emergency Management Agency. ``You couldn't see your hand in front of your face, let alone breathe it.''

The fire was brought under control, and the 220 villagers were allowed to return at about 6 p.m. No injuries were reported, Shaffer said. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The facilities were a total loss, city spokesman Bob Hughes said. Officials have not decided whether to rebuild, he said.

The 15 full-time workers at Modern Plastic have been given assignments with Haviland, he said. The firm does not reveal sales figures.