2-alarm fire at West Point paper mill under control

Published: May. 30, 2013 at 10:03 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 9, 2013 at 10:03 PM EDT
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WEST POINT, VA (WWBT) - Fire crews battled a 2-alarm fire at the RockTenn Co. paper mill in West Point Thursday night. After the fire was placed under control, firefighters worked to extinguish all hot spots.

The fire started around 4 p.m. and was placed under control around 6:30pm. The West Point Fire Department said large bales of recycled cardboard caught fire.

"The paper materials are bundled together in such a way that the fire can more or less hide inside of it," said West Point Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Andrew Smith. "Which requires us to tear it all apart and put water in it."

Using a crane, crews ripped apart the cardboard bales and doused them with water.

Smith estimates that over 500,000 gallons of water were used, which exhausted the mill's water supply. Fire crews then had to turn to the town's water supply.

According to their website, RockTenn specializes in recycling paper products.

Donnie Bryant says he helped build part of the plant 25 years ago. "I saw it on TV and I had to come by to check this out," he said.

There was no damage to the mill, to the homes nearby and there were no injuries.

Smith says the cause of the fire will be difficult to determine because of the damage the water caused to the cardboard.

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