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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The smoke could be seen for miles, but only one piece of equipment was destroyed in this weekend's fire at QRS Recycling. QRS officials say it was so hot, that some of the bails of plastic at the plant could have simply burst into flames.
General Manager Mike Laverty says, "We usually don't experience 107-degree weather. I mean this is unusually hot and dry." In fact, Laverty says it's the heat and dryness that likely caused the fire. He says it looks like bails of plastic stored in a gravel lot behind the plant caught fire after heating up. It happened around 5:00 Saturday evening when the center was closed.
Laverty says, "We had a security guard onsite, but he was actually on this side of the building and he didn't see the smoke in the back. So someone saw the smoke and so someone called them (the fire department) and they came running down here."
The New Albany Fire Department arrived quickly, but officials say it took 19 departments to put the flames out. The smoke could be seen for miles, even from downtown Louisville. But QRS officials say it looked worse than it actually was, and only one piece of equipment was damaged.
Laverty explains, "One conveyer belt was sticking outside the back building and it melted."
Everything is back to normal at the site, and officials at QRS are encouraging everyone to drop off their recycling as they normally would. Laverty says, "Some of the product that we would have been running today burned up, and so we need more product."
Laverty says he's glad the fire wasn't any worse, because it would have caused big problems for people on both sides of the river: "We also process all the material out of Louisville, all the curbside recycling comes here, and so it would be challenging to divert that to another plant."
New Albany Fire Chief Matthew Juliot says eight firefighters suffered heat-related injuries. All are recovering at home.
Fire officials were still trying to determine the official cause.