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UPDATE: Woodville's CRI up and running; repairs underway on fire-damaged area

Lots of footprints on CRI's two-acre lot and blackened siding near an overhead door and two exhaust fan ports were about the only visible signs Wednesday, Dec. 17, that a damaging fire had occurred hours earlier at CRI Recycling Inc. at Woodville. Steve Dzubay photos.1 / 3
Village of Woodville employees worked with firefighters early Wednesday to create sand berms and spread absorbent pads to prevent run-off of possible contaminants from the CRI Recycling fire scene. 2 / 3
CRI Recycling won a patent in 2001 for its unique processes to recapture and reuse waste oil. The firm has been in business for 15 years, according to information on its web site.3 / 3

WOODVILLE – CRI Recycling, a business that cleans and recycles consumer and industrial oil filters and other materials, is open for business at both the structure which experienced a fire late Tuesday and a second building it owns nearby, facilities manager Jeremy Fussy said Thursday morning.

Equipment for just one product line was damaged by a fire that broke out late Tuesday night but replacement machinery has been ordered and is expected to arrive and be installed next week, Fussy said.

Repairs are being made to some electrical equipment and CRI's wi-fi and internet connectivity but the business never closed, he said. Some work has been moved to another building CRI owns within the Woodville Industrial Park.

The firm currently employs about 25 people, he said.

The building received heat- and fire damage from a blaze that broke out just before midnight, Tuesday at the 101 Hagen St. business.

Firefighters from United Fire's Woodville, Baldwin and Hammond stations joined with peers from at least seven other departments to bring the fire under control within an hour or more.

There were no injuries and minimal runoff of potential pollutants from the fire, according to United Fire-Woodville interim chief Dan Peterson.

Peterson said firefighters attacked the fire "very cautiously," deliberately taking time to establish a redundant command structure with safety officers posted at each corner of the building, three ladder rigs positioned around the approximate 200- by 200-foot building, and plenty of water and foam resources on hand.

Entry was finally made through a large overhead door on the north side, then through a hole cut in a west sidewall and two exhaust-fan ports near the rooftop.

Peterson said Woodville public works crews, whose building is right next door, used an end-loader to build sand berms at the end of CRI's driveway and deploy absorbent mats and covers over nearby storm sewers to minimize any run-off. Woodville's Viking Middle School is located about 500 yards west of the CRI facility.

"It went very well. Everybody came together and did their jobs ... and went home in one piece," he said.

On its website, CRI describes its "company mission" as providing "cost-effectively recycling oil absorbents in a 100 percent closed-loop, environmentally-responsible manner."

Among materials handled are granular absorbents like clay and cellulose; polypropylene socks and pads; reusable pads and wipes and oil filters.

The company was formed in 1996, began processing materials in August 1998, and won a patent on its processes in September 2001.

It's unique processes were designed to address tightening environmental rules that have banned the land-filling of liquid oil, oil filters and various oil-contaminated products in many states.

The website says CRI has "safely removed 400,000 gallons of oil from the waste stream and currently recovers about 1,000 gallons of oil per week. The firm supplies business and industrial customers with absorbent pads, materials and drums, then retrieves the vessels for recycling on a regular schedule.”

For more information about the firm, visit http://www.crirecycling.com/

Steve Dzubay

Steve Dzubay has been publisher at the River Falls Journal and Hudson Star Observer from 1995-2016. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. He previously worked as a reporter-photographer at small daily newspapers in Minnesota and is past editor of the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal.

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