Troy Recycling Center back in business

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 10, 2001

Staff Writer

A week after the Troy Recycling Center was destroyed by fire last year, Bill Rice Sr. said the facility would be back in business.

Now, a little over a year later, it is bigger and better in the location where he watched the facility go up in smoke and flames.

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On Feb. 23, 2000 a fire broke out only minutes after employees had left for the day. The fire was reported at 2:52 p.m. and when the fire inspector arrived "it was burning from one end to the other," Troy Fire Chief Ray Rhodes said that day more than a year ago.

Those first on the scene reported the heaviest concentration of fire was in the front of the building near the door. As the tin walls folded in on the paper and other items inside, Rice watched his business go up in flames.

Problems with the nearest fire hydrant left fire fighters helpless for a while, but Rice said he didn’t think anything would have helped.

"The lack of water didn’t have anything to do with it," Rice said of the total loss. "I got here 10 minutes to three and it was gone."

A sprinkler system was installed in the new facility that has cost the taxpayers $44,000, after insurance settlements, Rice said.

But, Rice now happy to be in a bigger ­ 2,500 square feet ­ and better recycling center.

"We had 10 (hundred square feet)," Rice said.

"We had been forced to store some of our stuff outside and this should avoid that," he said looking at the new larger facility.

Having more room will also allow the Recycling Center to expand its services, which is something Rice thought impossible a year ago.

He visualizes having a shredder and is now accepting computers for recycling.

"They can drop them off, now, if they want to," he said of anyone who is looking to dump an old computer. "We found a place in Jacksonville, Fla. that will take them. That just adds one more thing to our list of what can be recycled."

Just after the fire, Rice was worried the city’s recycling program would come to a halt, but the county loaned the use of the Rock Building downtown and a baler were donated.

"We made do with what we had under the circumstances," Rice said. "We wouldn’t have survived without the county and Mount Scrap (which loaned the baler)."

"When you have someone give you equipment and not charge you for it ­ just to keep you in operation ­ you owe them a lot," Rice said.

That operation continued, although they discouraged drop-offs at the Rock Building because of the safety hazard of being close to the roadway.

"We still haven’t picked up our drive through trade," Rice said after two weeks in the new building. "It’s wide open, now."

With the new facility open, the baler running and plans to expand the program, Rice said the center’s employees "will never run out of work."