Firefighters battle recycling plant fire Jan. 3 in Apalachin, New York. - Screencapture Via WBNG

Firefighters battle recycling plant fire Jan. 3 in Apalachin, New York.

Screencapture Via WBNG

The owners of a New York state recycling plant destroyed by fire Jan. 3 in Apalachin, New York, have announced plans to rebuild the facility.

Taylor Garbage president Robert Taylor Jr. released a statement to WBNG TV Monday laying out the company’s plans to rebuild its Apalachin, New York, facility.

“On the evening of Friday January 3, a fire quickly swept through Southern Tier Recycling’s plant in Tioga County,” Taylor said. “Despite valiant efforts by the Apalachin Fire Department and many other area fire departments, the $4.5 million, 30,000-square-foot facility was a total loss.” 

Fortunately, the facility was closed at the time of the fire and there were no injuries. Investigators currently believe that the fire was ignited by a crushed lithium battery or a discarded mobile telephone. 

“There are scores of recycling facilities nationwide that experience similar fires as STR from crushed batteries,” Taylor said. “Once a spark is ignited, the contents of the building, paper and plastics provide the fuel to destroy the facility even with the presence of fire suppression equipment in the building. “

To allow the uninterrupted collection and processing of area recyclables, STR has repurposed its adjacent waste transfer station for recyclables.

“STR is pleased to report that recyclable volumes received at the transfer station are consistent with previous volumes despite the force majeure conditions,” Taylor said. “This process will continue until the new facility is constructed, equipped and opened.  STR believes that the $5 million reconstructed facility will be operational in the fourth quarter of this year.”

Presently, STR has to accept and load the incoming volume to be delivered to other merchant facilities.  It is now paying to have the recyclables transported between 80-100 miles to other facilities in the region and is paying $110 per ton to the facilities to process its material. 

More than 600 tons of material burned in the blaze.