A lithium-ion battery may have started a multi-million dollar blaze that wrecked a "state-of-the-art" recycling facility in Tioga County.

The Taylor Garbage Service complex on Route 434 in Apalachin was destroyed by a blaze that was discovered late Friday.

After the close of business Monday, the company issued a statement that said: "We believe it was started by a cell phone battery (which should not have been placed in recycling) that ignited one of the bales of recycled material."

The statement, which was released by a public relations representative for Taylor Garbage, acknowledged the the fire remained under investigation.

More than one million pounds of recyclables were stored in the Taylor Garbage Service facility at the time of the fire. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

Apalachin Fire Chief Mike George said the recycling plant was packed with 1.2 million pounds of material that included plastic, cardboard and glass.

Over a three-day period, George estimated firefighters used more than one million gallons of water to suppress the blaze. They also used foam to extinguish hot spots.

The Taylor Garbage statement said preparations are being made to demolish existing structures at the site. The company said it "will be rebuilding the recycling facility."

Taylor Garbage representatives have not been available to answer questions since the fire occurred.

The company statement said "normal waste and recycling operations and pick up schedules will not be affected."

A Taylor Garbage Service collecting recycling on January 6, 2020. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

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