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posted: 6/17/2012 7:16 PM

More than 100 firefighters battle all day blaze in Zion

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  • More than 100 firefighters spent most of Sunday fighting a blaze outside Maine Plastics, 1817 Kenosha Road in Zion.

      More than 100 firefighters spent most of Sunday fighting a blaze outside Maine Plastics, 1817 Kenosha Road in Zion.
    Photo Courtesy of Tim Olk, Fire Department Photo U

  • More than 100 firefighters spent most of Sunday fighting a blaze outside Maine Plastics, 1817 Kenosha Road in Zion.

      More than 100 firefighters spent most of Sunday fighting a blaze outside Maine Plastics, 1817 Kenosha Road in Zion.
    Photo Courtesy of Tim Olk, Fire Department Photo U

  • More than 100 firefighters spent most of Sunday fighting a blaze outside Maine Plastics, 1817 Kenosha Road in Zion.

      More than 100 firefighters spent most of Sunday fighting a blaze outside Maine Plastics, 1817 Kenosha Road in Zion.
    Photo Courtesy of Tim Olk, Fire Department Photo U

 
By Melissa
Silverberg
msilverberg@dailyherald.com

More than 100 firefighters from four counties spent most of Sunday fighting a stubborn fire that sent thick clouds of black smoke billowing over a plastics factory in northwest Zion.

The fire was reported at Maine Plastics, 1817 Kenosha Road, at about 7 a.m. and firefighters from 28 departments were on the scene until after 4 p.m., Zion Fire Chief John Lewis said.

"It wasn't a large fire per se, but it was stubborn," Lewis said of the "labor-intensive" blaze that burned outside the plastic company.

Firefighters had to overturn boxes and pallets filled with plastic and cardboard to ensure the fire was completely extinguished.

"It was a long day, a long Father's Day," Lewis said.

With temperatures teaching into the upper 80s, firefighters worked in shifts to make sure they were hydrated throughout the day, Lewis said. One firefighter, from the Highland Park Fire Department, was transported to Advocate Condell Medical Center for exhaustion, he added.

Departments from all over the area responded including as far as Palatine, Spring Grove, and Kenosha, Wis.

The facility, according to Maine Plastics' website, serves as the company's headquarters as well as one of its 11 processing plants. Founded in 1983, the company recycles materials to develop postindustrial and post-commercial plastics.

No one was in the building at the time of the fire, but Lewis said officials from Maine Plastics were on site once they were notified of the fire.

A few hours into the fire officials asked residents withing five or six square blocks of the blaze to evacuate for a few hours as a precautionary measure because of the fumes from the burn, Lewis said.

Residents have since been allowed to return home and are in no danger.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire and amount of damages caused. Since the fire took place mostly outside, Lewis said the building may have just sustained smoke damage.

• Daily Herald staff writer Steve Zalusky contributed to this report

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