Every state has a landmark indicating that you have arrived there. New York has the Statue of Liberty. DC has the White House. San Francisco has the Golden State Bridge. Elmwood Park, NJ's landmarks was the large Marcal sign that would hover over Route 80. As a child, I would poke my head out the window waiting to see the large Marcal sign (my way of finding out if we were close home.)
January 30th, the Marcal Paper Mill located in Elmwood Park, NJ was destroyed due to a fierce fire, leaving 500 workers unemployed.
Because of the weather conditions, Firefighters had a difficult time putting the fire out. The cold winds fed the flames causing the fire to spread rapidly.
As New Jerseyans sat in their homes watching the ordeal on Tv, the famous Marcal sign collapsed and burned.
The lost of Marcal has affected families and the neighborhood as a whole. Many restaurants reported that business was affected by the Marcal tragedy.
“ Business hasn’t changed that much but we had to close early that night. Everyone near Marcal had to evacuate until further notice!” Said associate of the Twisted Elm located outside of Marcal.
Former employees extend condolences as they looked back to the memories Marcal had given them.
“ It breaks my heart to see the building gone. I drive past the ruins and just shake my head. I worked there 13 years, and now the building only exist in my memory,” said Cirilo Gonzalez, Age 60, former employee of Marcal. “It will be hard for workers to adapt to a new job. When you work at a place for many years, you get comfortable, you learn the routines,” Gonzalez continued.
“I’m sorry this happened to them. I had great times there with my uncle⸺it was more than work. It was more playground time for us,” said Carlos Roman Rivera, Age 45, former employee of Marcal. “I worked in the shipping warehouse 37 and 38. What happened was a shame,” Rivera added.
After the tragedy, Marcal expressed their appreciation for the hard work their employees had served over the years. On Marcalpaper.com they had this to say, “On behalf of Marcal, our associates and management, we want to continue expressing our deepest appreciation for the outpouring of support we have received from the community, the State of NJ, and the many local corporations that have come to our aid, assisting in a multitude of ways. This has lifted and encouraged our spirits throughout this tragic event more than you will ever know.
Our current emphasis is on doing all we can for our employees. We’ve set up job fairs, available job position lists, and are working locally on community resources. If you’d like to contribute to the displaced families in need, please visit the Go Fund Me page where you too can share. Meanwhile, we’re also hard at work on plans to continue bringing Marcal bath tissue, paper towel, and napkin products back to your grocer’s shelf. We remain hopeful, but your continued support is dearly needed, now more than ever.”