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Blaze at the Passaic, NJ chemical plant continues to burn;  injured firefighter

Firefighters worked to contain a massive blaze at a New Jersey swimming pool chemical plant that was burning out of control early Saturday.

The fire broke out at a Qualco factory in Passaic, New Jersey, on Friday night and the roof and walls of the main structure caught fire, Passaic Fire Chief Patrick Trentacost Sr. said in Facebook Live videos with Mayor Hector Carlos Lora.

Part of the building where the fire originated then collapsed on itself, he said.

“Certainly we are far from having control of the fire,” Trentacost said early Saturday.

The building was largely vacant at the time and was used to store plastics and pallets, as well as chlorine, he said. A security guard who was on site was found.

A firefighter was hospitalized after being hit in the face by debris. Slips and falls were also reported as water quickly froze to the ground, Trentacost said.

The building was vacant and used to store plastics and pallets, as well as chlorine, he said.

The 100,000 square foot facility includes chlorine tablets, some of which have burned, Lora said during a Facebook Live.

Lora said the fire did not reach the main chlorine plant.

“If the fire were to hit the main chemical plant, it would obviously create problems beyond what our immediate resources would be able to solve,” Lora said.

Lora encouraged residents to stay indoors and close their windows as a precaution. Governor Phil Murphy echoed that advice and said he was pray for first responders.

Shawn LaTourette, Environmental Protection Commissioner of New Jersey, noted air quality officials were monitoring the situation.

NBC New York Forecaster Bill Karen said the wind was carrying smoke toward Newark and the New York City neighborhood of Staten Island.

The fire near the Passaic River sent smoke into the northern New York skyline as flames rose above the building. It progressed so fast that it went from 10 to 11 alarms during one of Lora’s videos.

Officials said they were also battling the elements.

It was 20 degrees after midnight at nearby Teterboro Airport, according to the National Weather Service.

A storm was bringing “arctic air” to the New York area overnight, federal forecasters said.




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