Firefighters were waiting out a smoldering fire at a Janesville recycling facility Tuesday night because heavy bundles of cardboard blocked their access to the flames.

At about 3:33 p.m. Tuesday, Janesville firefighters were called to the Waste Management Recycle America-Janesville Recycling Center, 340 Black Bridge Road.

Employees were evacuated from the scene, and fire departments from Edgerton, Milton, Beloit, town of Beloit, Evansville and Footville were called in to assist.

Black Bridge Road was blocked off from North Parker Drive to Mayfair Road starting at 4:45 p.m.

At 5 p.m., white smoke could be seen billowing out of the garage in front of the building and from openings on its west side.

At 9:30 p.m., firefighters were still on scene, and Janesville Fire Department Battalion Chief Ron Bomkamp predicted they could be there for a while.

Firefighters were having trouble getting to the “seat of the fire” because it was surrounded by heavy bundles of cardboard.

The cardboard bales weighed several hundred pounds each and couldn’t be moved easily, Bomkamp said.

The sprinkler system was keeping the fire under control while firefighters tried to get to it, Bomkamp said.

This story may be updated.

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