Officials say a large chemical fire is burning in northern New Jersey with smoke so thick it was detected on weather radar and smelled in nearby New York City
PASSAIC, NJ – A large chemical fire burned through northern New Jersey overnight and Saturday morning, its smoke so heavy it was detected on weather radar and seen and smelled in nearby New York City.
The fire at Majestic Industries and the Qualco chemical plant in Passaic spread to several buildings and threatened to collapse, officials said.
“There have been some bad fires, but this is the worst I have ever seen,” Passaic Mayor Hector Lora told NorthJersey.com.
Safety officer Justin Johnson told WCBS-TV he was working alone, checking water pressure, when he noticed smoke coming from a chimney-like tower. He didn’t know what to make of it but called the fire department when the alarms went off.
The fire started in buildings housing plastics, pallets and chlorine, officials said, but Fire Chief Patrick Trentacost said the part where most of the chlorine was stored appeared to be under control.
Residents near the blaze were asked to close their windows but were not required to evacuate, with officials saying air quality remained acceptable and would continue to be monitored.
However, some residents fled.
“It’s worrying. You don’t know what’s going to happen,” Joel Heredia told WBCS-TV.
A firefighter was taken to hospital after being hit by debris, officials said. He was fine, although other firefighters slipped and fell in slippery conditions, officials said.