Smoke from a massive fire at a North Brunswick, New Jersey, warehouse can be seen from 50 miles away as dozens of firefighters battle the blaze.
The fire at the 600,000 square-foot building began early Wednesday morning and was still burning at 11 a.m., though officials told NJ.com that it was mostly under control.
No serious injuries were reported. One firefighter was treated at the scene for a hand injury, according to CBS 2.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Nearby Homes & Apartment Buildings Were Evacuated as a Precaution
The fire began at about 2 a.m. Wednesday, officials said. As a precaution, six apartment buildings and other nearby homes were evacuated, NBC New York reports.
The building is located at 1600 Livingston Avenue.
2. Smoke Was Seen All Over New Jersey & in Manhattan
The smoke could be seen all over New Jersey and in Manhattan. Several photos posted to Twitter showed the thick black smoke as it rose from the fire.
3. Cars Inside a Repair Center Exploded During as the Fire Burned
The building includes the DCH Collision Center repair shop and plastics and rug manufacturers, NJ.com reports.
According to ABC 7, cars inside the repair center were exploding because of the heat and fire.
4. The Blaze Began in the Center of the Building & Firefighters Were Unable to Stop it From Spreading
— N. Jerzy Fire Alert (@NJerzyFireAlert) July 22, 2015
Fire officials said the blaze began in the center of the building and firefighters were unable to contain it before it spread throughout the large warehouse.
The fire started in the part of the building occupied by Achim Import Co., which makes floor coverings, blinds and household furnishings, according to ABC 7 News. There was no one inside at the time. It quickly spread and was not able to be stopped by the building’s sprinkler system.
“We were trying to maintain it from running the length of the building towards the south and we were unsuccessful in doing that,” North Brunswick Fire Chief Donald Salzmann told ABC 7 News. “We have most of the fire knocked down in the other parts of the building, however (the south end) is the end of the building that is creating the black smoke that is caused by the plastics that are stored and manufactured in that areas.”
Firefighters could be at the scene for several more hours, officials said.
5. Hazardous Materials Teams Have Been Monitoring the Air Quality Near the Fire
Hazardous materials crews are monitoring the air quality near the fire, the Township of North Brunswick said in a statement posted to its website and sent to residents:
As many of you know the North Brunswick Fire Department and emergency services, as well many mutual aid partners are currently operating at a multiple alarm fire. This is a very large and complex operation. The fire is producing a great deal of smoke and Middlesex County Hazardous Material Units are on scene conducting continuous air quality tests. Several area residences have been evacuated due to their proximity.
At this time we are asking that residents keep doors and windows closed, and all air conditioning units off when possible. Residents should expect discolored water as well as reduced water pressure. Please conserve water if possible to assist the fire dept with water pressure.
Officials said some of the evacuations were because of the heat from the fire, which removed siding from some homes. There is also the fear that burning plastic from the manufacturers inside the warehouse could release dangerous toxins in the air, though none have been detected.