Debris Left from Large Crossett Fire

Crossett, Ark -- An old plywood mill in Crossett continued to smolder Saturday night after a fire broke out Saturday morning. 

So far there are no reports of any injuries. 

Authorities say the mill went up in flames around 10 A.M. 

KARK 4's Price McKeon was on the scene and heard the community's reaction. 

Joe Battaglia lives near where the fire broke out, and he says, "I'm just thankful for the Lord that he saved the house and he saved the town. People that people didn't get hurt in the town".

From his front yard Joe Battaglia talks about what's left of Crossett's Georgia Pacific plywood mill. 

"It was really emotional hard to explain how emotional it can be but we survived it thank the Lord".

The city's fire chief shut down Highway 82, evacuated businesses, and told people to stay inside.

Chief Higginbotham said, "We wanted to clear the streets clear the area just for their precaution but (there was) nothing major. There wasn't a chemical leak or anything like that".

But Joe says burnt debris wasn't taking his home of 30 years if he could help it. 

"Me and my son we hosed down the top of our roof to keep the house from burning in case something landed on it".

The company says the fire started while a contractor was doing demolition work Saturday morning. 

Joe described it, "Like little bomb shells falling onto the ground there was just pieces of the mill collapsing we just kept on praying no one got hurt in there".

Another Crossett man, Mike Carter said, "Its like uh something like burnt soot".

He celebrated his anniversary at his home that's a few more blocks from the flames. 

"Two or three trains crashing at the same time like I said me and my wife were coming from the grocery story and that's what we thought it was".

Georgia pacific says on Sunday crews will pick up the burnt debris strong winds carried into front yards like Joe's.  

"I hoped it never got to the house and hoped we never had to go find some place else to live if everything burned down", Joe said.

The thing that kept brought him here 30 years ago is the same thing this father says will keep him here.

Joe loves living Crossett. He says it is a "Quiet place, peaceful. No traffic. People's friendly. Everybody knows each other in town its a small community. We all live together work together".


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