PCA Fire Caused Estimated $1 Million In Damage

VIRGINIA (From news reports) -- Damage from the Nov. 30 fire at the Packaging Corporation of America facility in Harrisonburg has been estimated at $1 million, according to a Thursday press release from Michael Parks, city spokesperson.

The value of the facility is about $55 million, according to the release. The facility is one of the city's largest employers.

The fire originated from a machine designed to heat and put wax to cardboard boxes before it spread and became a three-alarm fire, investigators determined.

"The aggressive, coordinated and ultimately successful efforts of the responding firefighters kept the fire contained to a limited area, allowing the plant, and its more than 180 employees, to continue operating," the press release said.

Emergency responders were called at 9 p.m. Nov. 30 to the facility for a structure fire. The first crews to arrive saw fire showing from the roof and then as the blaze grew, a third alarm was requested, according to the release.

At the height of the emergency, there were 60 firefighters from departments and units originating from Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, Augusta County and Shenandoah County. Members of the Harrisonburg Police Department, Harrisonburg Rescue Squad and the Salvation Army Canteen Unit also responded to the scene.

"We are deeply appreciative to all of our public safety partners who responded to the scene as well as provided coverage in the city," Harrisonburg Fire Chief Matt Tobia said in the release. "This could have a been a devastating event were it not for the combined efforts of the responders coupled with the fixed fire protection systems inside the building that helped contain the fire."

PCA corporate did not respond to a request for comment about the damage and how it may impact business and employment Thursday afternoon.

Paperitalo newsletters: Cost zero, value immeasurable. Sign up today.