Most of a recycling plant in Cheverly, MD, ended up destroyed after a fire sent up smoke that could be seen for miles Saturday.
World Recycling at the corner of Columbia Park Road and 64th Avenue served more than 500 office buildings in the Washington metro area. The fire destroyed around 90 percent of the building.
Flames shot through the windows and doors as six ladder trucks poured water onto the flames.
“About five minutes after crews tried to make an interior attack, fire was completely through the roof and we had to go to defensive operations,” said Fire Chief Benjamin Barksdale, Prince George’s County Fire and EMS.
Firefighters were forced out as the cement roof caved in. Employees of the recycling center could only stand and watch as flames consumed the building.
“I worked here for 20 years,” said Carlos Ramos. The 20-year World Recycling worker recycles paper goods just watched his work being destroyed.
“You don’t know what kind of stuff is going to happen but I hope everything’s OK,” he said.
Even after hours of battling the fire, the material inside kept fueling the flames.
“Paper, plastics, metals,” the fire chief said.
Two workers inside at the time the fire started said they saw electrical sparks before running out to safety.
The official cause is under investigation.