‘It’s a tragedy:’ Pile of charred, smoldering rubble remains from fire at John’s Disposal

TOWN OF NORWAY -- Crews remained at a Racine County recycling center Monday, July 2 after a massive fire broke out at John's Disposal in the Town of Norway on Sunday afternoon. The fire has posed multiple challenges for firefighting crews.

Thousands of gallons of water have been pooled, pumped and then poured onto mounds of smoldering rubble at the Racine County site -- a massive operation for crews after flames barreled through the site. The fire sent a cloud of smoke billowing into the sky.

"It was just complete black smoke. They were battling the weather and the winds (Sunday). I know that was very hard,"  said Rebekah Biermann.

Fire at John's Disposal, Town of Norway

A day after the fire ignited, Biermann said Monday she's grateful it did not spread to surrounding businesses.

"It's a tragedy to the area," said Biermann.

Inside the charred building Monday sat piles of paper and cardboard bundles.

Fire at John's Disposal, Town of Norway

"We've got excavating equipment pulling them out. Stream lines hitting it, breaking it apart, hitting it again and trying to move it out of the way," said Wind Lake Fire Chief Rob Robins.

Fire at John's Disposal, Town of Norway

Crews came from near and far. A giant truck from General Mitchell International Airport was even used to spray foam on the flames.

Officials said the fire started outside -- and moved in. With so much flammable material, Chief Robins said Monday the battle wasn't over.

"Just getting to the seed of it has been the biggest challenge. That and fuel," said Robins.

A community is now rallying around the recycling center -- hoping for the best.

Fire at John's Disposal, Town of Norway

"Our thoughts will be with John's Disposal and the rebuilding process," said Biermann.

The founder of John's Disposal told FOX6 News this is a setback for the company, but could not provide more information on the fire.

One firefighter was hospitalized for heat exhaustion.