Fire at Windham recycling plant spreads to junkyard

Firefighters from several towns spent several hours Monday night battling a blaze at a recycling plant and junkyard in North Windham.

The fire started at Northeast Recycles at 48 Boston Post Road and quickly spread to a junkyard, destroying about 30 abandoned cars. Fire officials said that the roof of the main building collapsed.

Willimantic fire officials called for assistance from area towns particularly the need for more foam to help fight the fire and keep it from spreading to adjourning properties. The road was closed and businesses and homes close to the plant were evacuated as a precaution.

There were no injuries. Fire officials are still trying to determine how the fire started.

Firefighters were initially concerned that a potential large amount of flammable materials could make the fire difficult to contain. By around 6:30 p.m. they appeared to have the fire under control although it was expected to take several hours to extinguish completely and it was still smoldering late Monday night.

The initial call came in at shortly before 4 p.m. and firefighters quickly issued a second alarm as the fire spread. Firefighters were trying to keep it from spreading to nearby businesses or to the nearby Natchaug River. Officials from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection were on scene to monitor the fire.

The fire gave off large black plumes of smoke that were visible from miles away at the height of the blaze. Several cars could be seen burning as firefighters rushed to keep it under control.

The fire was the second time this year that Willimantic firefighters had to battle an industrial fire.

Last January the Willimantic Waste Paper Co., a family-owned waste collection business that services eastern Connecticut, burned to the ground over a 24-hour period. It took more than 200 firefighters from 14 fire companies battled the flames from tower trucks to finally control that fire.

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