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Evacuations, order to close windows near chemical plant fire

A massive chemical fire broke out in Passaic, New Jersey on Friday night, sending plumes of potentially dangerous smoke into the sky and prompting residents to be evacuated from the immediate area.

The fire at a warehouse at 225 Passaic Avenue was raised to three alarms just after 9 p.m., according to Mayor Hector Carolos Lora, who was on the scene. By 11 p.m., it had grown to a 10-alarm blaze and spread to multiple nearby buildings.

“There have been bad fires but this is the worst that I’ve ever seen,” Lora said.

No injuries or loss of life were reported.

Lora asked residents to avoid the area and keep their windows closed due to potentially dangerous effects from the chemical fumes.

“This is a chemical fire. You will see the color distinguished in the sky,” he said.

The mayor said there are first responders from neighboring municipalities at the scene to assist. Firefighters were tapping into fire hydrants as far away as City Hall, blocks away from the blaze.

Residents were advised to close their windows due to the chemical fumes.
Residents were advised to close their windows due to the chemical fumes.
Citizen
The blaze spread to nearby buildings.
The blaze spread to nearby buildings.
Citizen

The building collapsed around 10:40 p.m., according to reports. The address belongs to Qualco, Inc. a swimming pools chemical company, according to its website. 

The fire shut down Route 21 South, according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

Gov. Phil Murphy also urged all residents to stay safe and keep their windows closed.

“We urge everyone in Passaic to stay safe as firefighters battle a large eight-alarm fire at a chemical plant off of Route 21. If you live nearby, keep your windows closed. Praying for the safety of our first responders on the scene.”

Harrowing videos posted on social media showed the vast plumes of smoke blowing in the wind.

The blaze caused so much smoke that it was visible on weather radar, extending over 50 miles into the Atlantic Ocean, according to meteorologist Craig Ceecee

New York City residents may see and smell smoke from the fire, the Big Apple’s emergency management department said in an alert.

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the blaze.



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