According to the mayor, a massive fire at the Passaic chemical plant has been avoided. Crews are still at the scene
A tornado that ripped through a residential complex and chemical plant in Passaic on Friday night, sending heavy flames into the air and heavy plumes of smoke that could be seen from New York City and even on weather radar, is now contained, according to the city's mayor on Saturday morning.
The 11-alarm blaze took place at the Majestic Industries warehouse and Qualco pool facility on Passaic Street. The weather was so cold, and the water they poured onto the buildings sometimes fell in the air.
According to Passaic Mayor Hector Lora, evacuations have not been required.
According to officials, a firefighter was taken to the hospital for an eye injury after being hit by fallen debris. 17 others have suffered minor injuries due to slips and falls on ice that had formed under their feet while shooting water onto the fire.
At 8 a.m., firefighters were still on the scene, shooting water onto the smoldering remains of the buildings, some of which have been collapsed.
According to officials, crews including hundreds of firefighters from the United States remained vigilant as the flames squidmed at Qualco's principal chemical facility.
Had it hit the main plant, it would have been, to say the least, a major incident, Lora said. There would have been evacuations of many, many people.
The fire occurred around 8:30 p.m. in a building used for plastic and pellet storage, and was previously vacant, according to Passaic Fire Chief Patrick Trentacost.
A portion of the building did not have chlorine stored in it, but it has been under control, according to Trentacost.
On Saturday morning, Passaic Engine 3 was shot dead at a chemical plant fire in Passaic.Dave Hernandez | For NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
As firefighters spray water onto the fire, runoff and overspray begins to freeze Sunday morning.Dave Hernandez | For NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
The chief said wind conditions and cold temperatures have been a problem. Water has been freezing under the firefighters, and massive icicles are hanging off one side of the building.
We are doing everything we can to help our firefighters get back to life, Trentacost said. But fighting the elements has been really tough.
Saturday morning, firefighters are continuing to battle the blaze in warm temperatures.Aristide Economopoulos | NJ Advance Media
Police have cordoned off a half mile stretch around the complex, which is in a densely populated area, a mix of old houses and homes.
Officials had closed parts of Route 21 on Friday night due to the fire. All southbound lanes reopened around 5:45 am, as well as the left lane on the northbound side, the state Department of Transportation said. The center and right lanes in the northbound direction are expected to reopen soon, according to the agency.
Saturday morning, firefighters continue to battle the blaze in frigid temperatures.Aristide Economopoulos | NJ Advance Media
A hint of smoke has drew over the Passaic River as of Saturday morning.
Residents are completed early-morning grocery shopping at the C Town near City Hall. A trash hauler collected garbage on a fast empty Market Street not far from the fire scene.
NOTE: This is a learning story that will be updated.
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