JACKSONVILLE- Strong gusty winds fanned a small fire into a three alarm blaze at the Smurfit Stone Recycling Plant on Saturday, April 8th, sending thick heavy smoke through downtown Jacksonville.
Units from the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department initially were dispatched to the Smurfit Stone Recycling Plant on West Beaver Street shortly before 3pm for a report of a rubbish fire. As thick black smoke started to rise from the facility, additional units began to head that way and the fire quickly moved to a second alarm.
Jacksonville Firefighters made an aggressive interior attack on the fire inside the plant, only to be forced out as parts of the building quickly began to collapse. In addition to the fire in the plant, strong winds fanned embers on to different rubbish piles, igniting multiple fires throughout the property. The fire moved to a third alarm as small fires began to pop up in the neighboring areas of the plant.
After the roof and several walls collapsed, firefighters operated bulldozers and backhoes to reach pockets of fire still burning underneath the rubble. A strong thunderstorm also moved through Jacksonville