Cardboard fire extinguished at State Street paper plant

A fire at a Columbus paper plant caused between $40,000 and $50,000 in damages Tuesday.

According to the Columbus Fire Department, firefighters were called to WestRock Company in the 3100 block of State Street at about 4 p.m. yesterday on reports of a machine on fire. Employees had already used dry chemical extinguishers to put out a fire that started in a cardboard chipping machine.

Firefighters praised the workers for putting out the fire, because it could easily have spread further, saying the plant had an extremely high fuel load of paper and cardboard.

Firefighters inspected the machine and found still smoldering cardboard inside the hopper and inside a baler, which they fully extinguished.

WestRock representatives told firefighters that the equipment will be out of service for several days while repairs are made, but production will not be affected at the plant.

The fire was determined to be accidental and no one was injured.

Photo: Columbus Firefighter Eric Brown applies water to smoldering cardboard scraps above a cardboard baler at WestRock Company in Columbus Tuesday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Columbus Fire Department.