Disaster is averted when massive fire near a chemical plant in New Jersey is contained

A thick cloud of smoke rising above a burning building is seen through the windshield of a vehicle, in Passaic, New Jersey, U.S., January 14, 2022 in this screenshot obtained from a vehicle videos on social networks.

Maria Alberto via Reuters

A raging fire near a chemical plant burned through the night and into Saturday in northern New Jersey but resulted in no evacuation orders or serious injuries – just thick smoke seen and smelled in the area. New York City nearby.

Officials said the fires at Majestic Industries and the Qualco chemical plant in Passaic were in buildings containing plastic, pallets and chlorine, but the disaster was averted.

The mayor of Passaic, Hector Lora, said crews had been battling pockets of the blaze in the afternoon, but it was under control.

The fire was prevented from reaching the main chemical plant, which could pose a danger to the densely populated suburbs of New Jersey City’s New York City, Lora said.

Nearby residents were advised to close their windows but were not told to evacuate, with officials saying air quality remained acceptable and would be monitored.

However, some residents have fled.

“It’s disturbing. You don’t know what’s going to happen,” Joel Heredia told WCBS-TV.

The cold weather freezes water from hydrants and hoses, hindering boats trying to draw water from the Passaic River and causing firefighters to slip and fall, Lora said. A firefighter arrived at the hospital with an eye injury.

Security guard Justin Johnson told WCBS-TV he was working alone, checking the water pressure when he noticed smoke coming from a tower that looked like smoke. He didn’t know what to do but called the fire department when the alarm went off.

Passaic Fire Chief Patrick Trentacost said three fire trucks at the scene were frozen in ice on Saturday afternoon as temperatures remained below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, reported.

The 300 foot (91 meters) by 400 foot (122 meter) building is vacant but is being used to store plastic, pallets and some chlorine, Trentacost said. Some flames remained in the basement under the roof but “it was a total collapse of a three-story building.”


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