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Fire destroys Missouri recycling plant

By: Jim Johnson

October 7, 2013

Officials are investigating a fire that destroyed a plastics recycling facility in Missouri and took nearly a full day to extinguish.

Missouri Plastics LLC in Jackson was a complete loss by the time firefighters left the scene late on Oct. 4, said Chief Dwayne Kirchhoff of the East County Fire Protection District.

Kirchhoff was incident commander for the fire that brought in firefighters from 13 different companies and took about 23 hours to put out. Fireman had to return over the weekend to extinguish hotspots as well.

“The only thing right now I can tell you is that it’s still under investigation. We have no idea what started it,” Kirchhoff said Monday. “It’s a recycling plant. They take product in and they bale it up and they ship it out.”

The building, estimated by the fire chief to be about 100,000 square feet, was a total loss. Firefighters had to rely on water from a private lake about three-quarters of a mile away, and the chief estimated it took a 1 million to 1.2 million gallons of water to douse the flames. A typical house fire might take 40,000 to 60,000 gallons of water to extinguish. Firefighters also used foam.

This is the second time the business caught fire, the chief said, as the facility also burned in 2006 but was not completely destroyed.

“We fought it for quite a long time to save the office area. The fire was just going past our efforts. We just couldn’t save the office,” he said. “The building’s a total loss.”

Dealing with burning bales of plastic as well as paper made fighting the fire more challenging as firefighters had difficulty getting to some sections of the fire.

While the fire chief did not have an official damage total, he estimated the blaze probably caused more than $2 million in damage.