Fire Rips Through Chemical Plant In New Jersey

Passaic, New Jersey — A fire near a New Jersey chemical plant, with flames and smoke visible from miles away in the dead of night, spread to several buildings in the complex Friday and threatened to reach the storage area. of chemicals, according to the authorities.

In a video posted on Facebook, Passaic Mayor Hector Lora asked residents to stay away from the area and keep their windows closed.

Firefighters were still evaluating the situation, Lora said, adding that at the moment there were no reports of personal injuries.

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City Fire Department Chief Patrick Trentacost said the building was empty when the fire broke out.

“A part of the building had chlorine and that seems to be under control right now,” he said after midnight. “We will monitor it throughout the night, but we are far from having the fire under control.”

Much of the building where the flames started has collapsed in on itself, he added. Firefighters were using water from a nearby river to supplement their supply.

One of the firefighters was taken to a hospital after being hit in the face by debris, but was doing well, Trentacost said. Many others fell after slipping while dousing the flames because low temperatures turned the water used in the operation into ice.

The Qualco Inc. plant is about 13 miles (21 kilometers) west of Manhattan. According to its website, it produces chemicals used in the treatment of swimming pools and spas.

At the moment the causes of the fire are unknown.

The Department of Environmental Protection was working on the ground to assess air quality, Lora said. As of 3:30 a.m., the air quality level was acceptable and no evacuations had been ordered, the councilman added.

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