GREENPOINT — Firefighters spent more than 12 hours Tuesday into Wednesday morning trying to extinguish a blaze that destroyed a Humboldt Street recycling plant and left north Brooklyn and lower Manhattan reeking of smoke.
The fire broke out at the Rapid Processing plant at 860 Humboldt St. about 7 p.m. Tuesday, owner Anthony Tristani, 36, said Wednesday morning near the rubble of the building.
About 20 workers were inside the paper and plastic processing plant, which has contracts with the Department of Sanitation, when the sprinklers went off, he said.
"They think it might have been a lightbulb that exploded," Tristani said, though the FDNY is still investigating the cause.
All workers escaped without injuries, Deputy Assistant Chief James Leonard of the FDNY said at the site of the fire that left Greenpoint Avenue littered with debris.
Firefighters brought it under control about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Leonard said, but it was still smoldering at 11 a.m. as a crew from the Department of Environmental Protection cleaned the streets and firefighters kept working to contain it.
The blaze caused so much damage the building is in danger of collapse and will have to be demolished, Leonard said. Work to tear it down was expected to beging Wednesday evening.