Fire destroys recycling center

By Drew Wilder |, Anna Carrera

Published 12/19 2013 05:47AM

Updated 12/31 2013 11:29PM

Latest: 6:33 pm
URBANA -- Champaign county deputies are helping the state fire marshal with the fire investigation. It sparked around 1:30 am on Thursday morning at Mack's Twin City Recycling Center. 

Investigators can't say where the fire started or what may have sparked it, but they don't believe it was suspicious. 

While first responders were fighting the fire, they closed off part of Lincoln Avenue. That made it tricky to get through there, especially for UPS workers right across the street who came in as early as 2 am. A lot of them are on deadlines for the holidays so they had to make special accommodations so they could get in and out safely.
Update: 2:15 pm
URBANA -- Mack's employees were able to help firefighters on the scene of a fire at the recycling center Thursday morning. WCIA-3's Drew Wilder spent much of the morning on location.

The family business is all Corey Mathis has ever known. His father built the location of Mack's Twin City Recycling on North Lincoln Avenue almost 20-years ago. Now, all that's left is a smoldering pile of rubble.

"Got the call about 1:30 and, when I showed up, pretty much the back half of the building was on fire. Didn't really know much at that point. Just sat and watched it and it worked its way forward."

Mack's employs 17 people at this location. They were able to use some of those guys first thing this morning. They got in their excavators and started turning over some of the metal and scraped stored here so crews could spray water on hot spots from above.

"Thermal imaging cameras are something we've been using for many years now in the fire service. It'll detect heat and give you a white signature on the display, so even working way up in the ladder like they were doing today, it's very easy to determine underneath debris where those hot spots are. We can then direct the equipment operator to that area to uncover it so we can get some water on it."

Water was also a concern. Crews had only two hydrants, both pulling from the same water main which reduced the available water pressure.

"We were able to contact the water company and they were able to ramp up the pressure to our area which helped us get the water we needed on the fire."

Firefighters were able to stop the fire from destroying the business office in the front of the building. This saved paperwork and computer records and files, which will help the business move forward.

"Once we get this building rebuilt, it should be better than ever."

The building is a total loss. The State Fire Marshal is investigating the cause. Mack's has security cameras set up around the building. They say the video could help in the investigation.
Original: 5:47 am
URBANA -- A recycling center is destroyed by an early morning fire. It started around 1:30 am, at Mack's Twin City Recycling, on North Lincoln Avenue. No one was inside at the time.

Crews from the Eastern Prairie Fire Protection District say, when they arrived, flames were shooting through the roof. Seven departments are working to put out the hot spots in the building.

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