Lauderdale County firefighters continue to monitor hot spots after a fire destroyed the Allied Plastics Reprocessing Plant in Ripley Tuesday morning.
The fire was so intense, it collapsed the plant's roof.
There were no reported injuries from the fire.
Six county fire crews and an outfit from Covington were called to extinguish the fire, which roared to life at around 5 a.m.
"It's a nightmare," said Will Douglas, the plant's owner for the past three years. The plant has been in his family's control since 1997.
"It's very hard. It's very difficult," he said.
Douglas added that a few employees started their day like normal, got the plant going and went to get coffee.
When they came back though, the building was fully engulfed.
Douglas, who was asleep at his residence, was awoken by his employees. He rushed out of bed but had no idea what he would drive up to.
"My first thought was the neighborhood behind there," he said. "I hope nothing happens to those houses, those homes."
Douglas was able to salvage some of the plant's equipment before the smoke and flames got too intense.
By noon, six different crews had been battling the flames for hours.
Billowing black smoke could be seen for miles as the plant continued to burn.
"When we got here on the scene this morning the flames were shooting through the roof," said Ripley Fire Chief Felix Moore. "Of course there's a lot of plastics that is involved. You have pallets back there of ground up plastics. So we were able to get the fire under control. But yet the roof has collapsed on us."
The building is likely destroyed, which means Douglas will lose his business. He's not worried about his job, but the jobs of the eight employees who work for him.
"Our county is so oppressed, every job matters," Douglas said. "Of course our plan is we will rebuild somewhere and keep these jobs going. But life will go on. Just thank God nobody was injured and everybody's okay."
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Ripley Mayor Jon Pavletic said in a statement that he was grateful there were no injuries or loss of life from the fire.
Mayor Pavletic said Lauderdale County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state and has lost hundreds of jobs to plants overseas. He does not think there is any way the city or county can assist the plant or its employees.
Allied Reprocessing takes old plastic from cars (light fixtures, grill work, etc.) and grinds it up into little pebbles, which, in turn, is sold to car companies to be re-made into plastic car parts
The company opened in 2007, in what is the "old pants factory" in Ripley. Allied Plastics employs about 20-full time people.
Ripley is 50 miles northeast of Memphis.
FOX13 News Good Morning Memphis anchor Brooke Thomas contributed to this report.
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