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Massive fire sweeps through chemical plant in New Jersey — RT World News

A large fire has broken out at a chemical plant in Passaic, New Jersey, and nearby residents have been asked to stay inside with their windows rolled up. One of the plant facilities is said to have a large stock of chlorine.

Despite warnings to local residents to stay indoors, large crowds of people – including young children – could be seen outside watching the flames.

The blaze, which eventually escalated to a 10-alarm fire, prompted the evacuation of nearby homes. One of the factory buildings collapsed on itself under the flames. Photos from the scene show its burnt debris lighting up the night sky.

CBS News’ Nick Caloway reported, citing Passaic Mayor Hector C. Lora, that up to 100,000 pounds of the dangerous chemical – chlorine – was at risk of igniting.

On Friday evening, Mayor Lora announced that firefighters were able to contain the fire and move it away from the main structure of the chlorine plant. Before it could be isolated, the blaze had “impacted” some 100,000 pounds of “finished chlorine granules”, local media reported, citing Lora.

Lora also said authorities would not be able to “completely inspect” until the fire is “completely extinguished” and that he “may take a while to establish” the cause of the fire.

Meanwhile, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy urged residents to keep their windows closed and expressed his prayers for “first responders on the scene”.

A local meteorologist claims that the potentially toxic smoke could be blown all the way to Staten Island in New York, calling on everyone in its path to stay indoors.

Chlorine gas can be deadly and was used as a chemical weapon during World War I. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of chlorine exposure can include difficulty breathing, vomiting, blisters, blurred vision, and burning sensation in the nose, mouth and the eyes.

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