Fire destroys Pa. recycling plant; workers safe

By the Associated Press | August 2, 2011 | 9:59 PM EDT

Firefighters work to get water on an industrial fire Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011 at Nicos Polymers Group recycling plant in Plainfield Township, Pa., about 55 miles north of Philadelphia. The intense heat and flames caused much of the fabricated steel structure to collapse, and it took firefighters dispatched from several counties more than four hours to contain the blaze. All 11 workers on duty when the fire broke out escaped the building without injury. (AP Photo/Tim Wynkoop)

NAZARETH, Pa. (AP) — A fire has destroyed an eastern Pennsylvania recycling plant and sent massive clouds of black smoke high into the air.

The fire began Tuesday morning at Nicos Polymers Group in Plainfield Township, 55 miles north of Philadelphia.

Two hundred firefighters spent much of the day knocking down the heavy flames at the 180,000-square-foot fabricated steel structure. Thick smoke plumes could be seen for miles.

Plainfield Township fire Chief Greg Dawe tells The Morning Call newspaper of Allentown three employees were inside when the fire erupted but they got out safely. He says the cause of the fire is under investigation.

The state Department of Environmental Protection is monitoring air quality and water runoff but reports no problems.

Zanesville, Ohio, recycling firm Coll Materials bought Nicos Polymers this year.