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North Andover Recycling Center Destroyed In Long Burning Fire

NORTH ANDOVER (CBS) – A massive fire at a recycling center in North Andover burned for more than 18 hours and continued to smolder Wednesday.

Firefighters were called to Thomson Brothers Industries on Holt Street around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. They had trouble putting the flames out because there's a limited water supply in that remote part of town.

No one was inside at the time the fire started and no one was hurt, authorities said.

But even as the main part of the fire was knocked down by 6 a.m. Wednesday, it continued to smolder under about 30 feet of construction debris. Thomson Brothers specializes in recycling old wood, cardboard, paper, mattresses, demolition remains from buildings and other construction materials.

Smoke could still be seen, and smelled, for miles Wednesday afternoon.

The fire department is also keeping an eye on the air quality. They asked anyone in the area to stay inside, keep their windows closed, and turn off air conditioners if possible.

Tests were run overnight and no hazards were found in the air, according to North Andover Fire Chief Bill McCarthy.

north andover fire
Smoke engulfed Thomson Brothers Industries in North Andover late Wednesday morning. (WBZ-TV)

"The smoke you're seeing now, we're creating a lot of that because we're putting water on a very, very hot fire right now underneath, so it's going to constantly be standing the way you see it is now," he told reporters Wednesday.

The building is a total loss and will have to be torn down.

"[The business has] been here for quite some time," Chief McCarthy said. "They're a great family business. It's a shame that this happened…they're going to be out of business for some time."

There's no word yet on how the fire started.

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