Breaking News
More () »

Illinois recycling plant claims delayed fire fighting response to massive blaze

5 On Your Side heard from the company's attorney, Albert Watkins, for the first time since the incident on Friday.

MADISON, Ill. — The scale of destruction from a massive fire at Interco's electronic recycling headquarters in Madison, Illinois, became more visible Friday.

Demolition crews picked up piles of bricks and debris as area firefighters continued to spray the site that went up in flames on Wednesday.

Plant lawyers up

5 On Your Side heard from the company for the first time through their attorney Albert Watkins.

“Interco is saddened by the fire. There is a great deal of collaborative undertaking on the part of Interco with regulatory folks with the state and the local authorities,” he said.

Watkins confirmed the fire caused a burn to an employee's arm and that they were working to get the man immediate medical attention and other resources.

The local attorney also confirmed two destroyed buildings and possible workers' vehicles. He and his client believe the fire could have been prevented.

“Collectively there is a shared concern about the significant delay in response time by local fire department responders to address what originally was a small containable fire. That delay resulted in the fire becoming not containable and more significant than should have occurred," Watkins said.

Railroad company pitched in

Adam Mahlandt, the general superintendent of the Terminal Railroad Association, was at his desk when the fire struck.

Their operating tracks run past Interco’s facility on Fox Industrial Drive.

"I received a phone call from our police. Railroad police that informed us that a warehouse fire had occurred," Mahlandt said.

The supervisor quickly learned how close the incident was to the train tracks and the possible effects it could have on the property.

He told 5 On Your Side they then tapped into their annual training that allows them to simulate potential hazards like this fire.

"Or like a fire in a railyard that helps us coordinate, set up a command post. Work with local authorities," Mahlandt explained.

The company shut off its mainline tracks which allowed firefighters to get much-needed water across the tracks.

"We did have some delays. We are currently working with the different railroads in the St. Louis area to catch that traffic up within the next 24 hours,” the superintendent added.

The investigation

OSHA has opened up an investigation into Interco.

Watkins stated the company would provide a full inventory to give to the state and federal environmental protection offices.

"All cooperative measures are being taken to make sure the information needed to permit the investigation to be thoroughly and comprehensively conducted is being provided," he said.

Madison County Fire Chief confirmed the first call about the fire came in at 9:48 a.m. on Wednesday.

They pushed the button for a multi-agency response with partnering companies.

The Granite City Fire Department was dispatched at 9:55 a.m. and arrived at 10:04 a.m., a nine-minute span.

Before You Leave, Check This Out