Fire at GreenLeaf Recycling

Ohio 7 was expected to be closed to traffic between State Route 550 and Blue Knob Road until midnight after a massive fire broke out at GreenLeaf Recycling in Moore’s Junction late Sunday morning.

“We received a call at 11:53 a.m. from employees at the recycling facility saying there was a fire in a pile of recyclable material just outside one of the buildings. The employees had been trying to put the fire out since 11 a.m., but it got out of control and they called the fire department,” said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.

He said the blaze spread to the recycling buildings and to the main office, but no employees were injured.

“One firefighter was taken to Marietta Memorial Hospital for heat exhaustion,” Mincks said.

The sheriff said Ohio 7 traffic would be routed around the site, probably until after midnight Sunday.

Bob Harlow of Marietta witnessed the fire while driving along Ohio 7 at Moore’s Junction around noon.

“A police car passed me and then turned to block the highway ahead,” he said. “I made a U-turn to head back home and snapped a picture of the fire. Firemen were spraying water on the building from the other side of the four-lane, and a lot of black smoke was rolling up into the air.”

Warren Volunteer Fire Chief Mark Wile said a total of three buildings were destroyed, including two processing facilities and the office.

“The metal on the outside of the buildings prevented us from getting to the fire inside, so we brought in track hoes to knock the metal walls down,” he said. “That helped a lot.”

Wile said the fire was basically down to one smaller “hot spot” by 7 p.m., but he expected crews would be working all night long to ensure no rekindle of the blaze.

“The majority of the fire is out, but there’s a lot of cardboard and paper that will be smoldering for some time,” he said.

Wile said crews of firefighters from area departments would help relieve those who had been battling the blaze all day.

Mincks said he was told a small diesel tank had exploded early in the fire, and there was some concern that two propane tanks could also explode at the recycling site.

“But I think they’ve taken care of the propane tanks,” he added.

Wile said one resident who lived nearby was evacuated as a precaution, but hazardous materials were not processed at the facility.

“They process cardboard, plastic, aluminum and scrap metal,” he said. “But the plastic could contain other materials.”

Wile said representatives from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office were also on the scene Sunday afternoon, but the source of the fire had not been determined.

“The fire marshal will return Monday to talk with some employees and to check some surveillance camera footage at the site,” he said.

Boats from the Marietta fire and police departments, helping patrol the Ohio River during Sunday’s Marietta Riverfront Roar, responded to the fire, according to police Sgt. Rodney Hupp. He said police officers assisted with the fire boat which supplied water from the river to fight the blaze.

Other units from the Marietta Fire Department assisted on shore as did units from Warren, Oak Grove, Dunham Township, Barlow, Lowell-Adams, and Little Hocking volunteer fire departments.

GreenLeaf Recycling, formerly ReBay Recycling, is a division of Marietta Industrial Enterprises.