This comes after more than 150 firefighters from over 60 departments across Alabama have been working for well over 48 hours to contain the massive blaze.
Josh Tanner, Emergency Management Specialist for Gadsden/Etowah EMA, said fire crews have made significant progress in getting to the core of the fire, which was fed by large bales of paper.
Gadsden Cartage stored compressed paper products, and the fire continued to burn in the 275,000-square-foot complex after the roof collapsed onto an area where burning paper was beyond the reach of water cannons being used to suppress the blaze.
On Wednesday night, officials significantly ramped down the staffing to fight the fire after more than 30 hours of significant activity. As of 10 a.m., there were three fire apparatuses involved, and a few more crews were expected from Cherokee County.
During a press briefing on Wednesday morning, Attalla Fire Chief Robert Dillard said that once the fire is contained firefighters will be able to get inside the rubble and begin the salvage/overhaul process.
Tanker trucks and firefighters from Cherokee County returned to the scene on Wednesday afternoon and provided assistance with water shuttle operations as well as providing manpower for suppression operations.
There has been some concern about the air quality as a result of the large amount of smoke from the fire. Chief Dillard said that there will be smoke issues for several more days and urges anyone with breathing problems such as asthma, allergies, COPD, etc. to stay indoors and shelter in place.
Gadsden/Etowah EMA says that any Gadsden Cartage employees who might be displaced at this time and are seeking employment may call Personnel Staffing in Gadsden at (256) 547-1668 for assistance.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office and the ATF are continuing to investigate the exact cause.