ECSU, local schools to be closed Monday after fire destroys Willimantic trash company

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WILLIMANTIC — Hundreds of firefighters from multiple towns battled a fire at the Willimantic Waste Paper Company. Today, they are scaling back their operations.

Officials said schools in town will be closed on Monday due to the smoke covering the area. Officials at Eastern Connecticut State University have closed the school on Monday as well.

The fire start  around 10:15 a.m. at 1590 West Main Street.

Firefighters from Columbia, Mansfield, Hebron, Norwich and several other towns in the region responded to help fight the blaze. There were no immediate reports of injuries and officials said it appears nobody was inside the facility when the blaze began.

Roads are expected to be closed through the night.

Officials said the company expects to continue to move waste paper this week to other facilities.

According to the company website, Willimantic Waste Paper Company was established in 1950 and is a 3rd-generation family business employing about 240 people. It's a full service recycling and disposal company, which picks up trash in dozens of towns throughout four counties in eastern Connecticut.

Residents have been asked to curtail nonessential water use.

 

Eyewitnesses tell FOX61 that large chunks of black debris are scattered at least a block away from the building.  Reporter Ali Warshavsky is on the scene.

Just before 6 a.m., the situation was determined under control, but there's still a lot of work that needs to be done.

Right now, crews are pulling debris out which they say will take several hours. Once the sun comes up, they'll be able to reevaluate.

They will continue testing air and water quality, but say right now everything is okay. However, they advise people with respiratory issues to stay inside.

Employees are being told to return to work.

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