An 11-alarm fire inside a massive complex near a chemical plant in Passaic, New Jersey has been contained following a major, hours-long response by more than 200 firefighters from across the state, according to the city's mayor.
Passaic Mayor Hector Lora said the fire, which was first reported around 8:30 p.m. Friday night, occurred at the Qualco Chemical Plant, in the portion of the complex that manufactures furniture for casinos, bingo halls and food and beverage facilities.
Lora said the fire did spread to the Qualco Chlorine building, but, fortunately, not the side of the complex that produces chlorine chemicals for pools. If the area with chemicals had been compromised, there would have been mandatory evacuations for residents.
Still, environmental officials were on scene to assess air quality, Lora said.
“The fire has been contained as of right now. Obviously, they're going to continue battling the fire, assessing the air quality, but for the most part the fire is contained,” Lora told Gothamist/WNYC on Saturday morning.
Reverse 911 calls were made to homes in the area warning them to keep their windows closed.
One security guard who had been on the premises was accounted for, according to NorthJersey.com. Lora said there have been no indications of any other loss of life near in the area as a result of the fire.
At a late briefing on Friday, Passaic Fire Chief Patrick Trentacost said the building where the fire originated from was empty and ultimately collapsed. One firefighter was hurt by flying debris, but their injuries were not considered life threatening.
Crews from fire companies in Essex and Bergen counties joined Passaic firefighters to fight the flames, which could be seen for miles. New York City emergency management warned NYC residents that they might see or smell smoke.
It’s unclear what caused of the fire. Throughout the night, Lora used his Facebook page to chronicle made by firefighters who battled the fire as temperatures plunged below freezing, impacting their water lines.