Officials say an icy fire at a chemical facility in Passaic is being held, while crews are still at the scene
Officials said a raze ripped through a industrial building in Passaic on Friday morning, sending huge flames into the air and heavy plumes of smoke that could be seen from New York City and even on the weather radar.
Firefighters are still on the scene still smoldering water onto parts of the complex, according to officials. One concern is keeping existing flames from reaching an area where chlorine is stored a development that may lead to evacuations of nearby neighborhoods.
Firefighters worked throughout the night to battle the 11-alarm fire at the Majestic Industries warehouse and Qualco pool chemical facility on Passaic Street. The weather was so hot, the water they poured onto the buildings sometimes froze in the air.
Environmental officials said the air quality in the area is at acceptable levels, and that nearby residents have not been evacuated, according to Passaic Mayor Hector Lora. But he asked neighbors to keep their windows closed for safety.
Residents may come outside, but they should not come to this area, Lora said.
According to officials, a firefighter was taken to the hospital for an eye injury.
According to officials, seventeen other firefighters have been seriously injured in the blaze.
Emergency personnel including hundreds of firefighters from dozens of companies across the area, including Bergen, Essex, Passaic, and Union counties have been able to keep the flames from reaching Qualco's chemical stockpile, according to authorities.
Had it hit the main plant, it would have been, at the least, a major incident, Lora said. There would have been evacuations of many, many individuals.
Firefighters were still on the scene at 9:30 p.m., so they continue to water on the blaze to keep it from spreading to the chlorine stockpile.
Patrick Trentacost, the fire's chief, has stated that a "significant amount of chlorine" was required to be found on the site.
The blaze is under control and halt, but it is stubborn, according to Trentacost.
He said its too early to determine the cause of the fire.
Firefighters will keep shooting water onto the complex until Saturday night, and then set up a watch, according to the head.
Trentacost said it wasnt as bad as the inferno at Atlantic Recycling in 1985, when it wiped out one-quarter of the city's industrial base on the Eastside.
Every fire is unique and presents its own set of challenges, said the chief.
It's a challenge to keep the fire from spreading to the chlorine facility and cold weather, according to Trentacost.
The complex which dates back to 1906 was empty except for a security guard when the fire broke out around 8:15 p.m. Friday night.
Majestic Industries' warehouse is thought to have begun a fire along with Qualco's facility.
A large part of the complex has since collapsed, according to the author.
Nor Majestic nor Qualco have responded to their requests for comment on Saturday morning.
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, the runoff and overspray begins to freeze Saturday morning.Dave Hernandez | For NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Firefighters have been able to deal with lower temperatures and freezing wind. Water has been under their feet, and huge icicles are hanging off one side of the building.
Were doing everything we can to honor our firefighters and to rotate them through, Trentacost said. But fighting the elements has been really tough.
The chief said there were several minor explosions from propane tanks early on, but that was to be expected, and it was nothing out of the ordinary.
Lora urged residents to be attentive to prevent fires as a result of cold temperatures.
At times like these, you are genuinely pleased with the heroic efforts of our firefighters, the mayor said.
Saturday morning, firefighters continue battling the fire in frigid temperatures.Aristide Economopoulos | NJ Advance Media
The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States stated that it's on the scene to help monitor the air while assisting the Department of Environmental Protection. The Environmental Protection Agency's findings have been found to be "within acceptable levels," according to the EPA's statement.
Five air monitors have been established by the federal government to determine whether chlorine or other contaminants have been detected.
Emergency responders are conducting air monitoring to protect residents from potential chlorine exposure during the chemical plant fire. Results are below acute risk levels and monitoring continues.
Police have cordoned off about a half-mile radius around the complex, which is located in a densely populated area, surrounded by old factory and home buildings.
Officials had closed parts of Route 21 on Friday night due to the fire, and all lanes have now reopened, according to the state Department of Transportation Saturday morning.
A bit of smoke has drifted across the Passaic River.
Saturday morning, firefighters continue to fight the fire in cold weather.Aristide Economopoulos | NJ Advance Media
Fire companies across the country are standing by to assist.
A fire on Aycrigg Avenue in the heavily orthodox Jewish Third Ward killed many people, but it was odd to see it occurring. Many of the residents of Parsippany, Pompton Plains, Rockaway Township, Pompton Lakes, and Green Village responded to a relatively minor fire in the boiler room.
As close to 100 out-of-town firefighters began unraveling hoses, Moshe Jacobs, 21 shook his head in disbelief.
I was wondering why all these fireman were here,, Jacobs said.
Residents are completing early-morning grocery shopping at the C Town near City Hall. A garbage hauler collected garbage on a nearly empty Market Street not far from the fire scene.
Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-9th who represents the area in Congress said he expects federal officials to make sure Passaic has everything they need to get rid of the situation and protect our neighbors.
We are inundated with winter tornadoes, which are some of the worst and most frightening situations in our communities, Pascrell added. Ive been praying for our neighbors in Passaic while monitoring the situation closely. It appears the fire is blessedly under control. God bless our firefighters who bravely fought this massive fire in the dead of night.
Firefighters in New Jersey continue to fire Saturday morning.Amanda Brown| For NJ Advance Med
Friday morning, firefighters from all over New Jersey will continue to fight the fire.Amanda Brown| For NJ Advance Med
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