Fire Rips Through Brooklyn Recycling Plant; Drone Captures Flames on Video

More than 150 firefighters worked for hours overnight battling a blaze that gutted a recycling plant in Brooklyn and sent plumes of heavy smoke into the sky that could be seen from New Jersey, officials said.

The fire at the recycling plant on Humboldt Street in Greenpoint started around 7 p.m. Tuesday, according to the FDNY. It quickly escalated to a four-alarm blaze and sent a smoke plume hundreds of feet into the sky. Drone video obtained by NBC 4 New York showed large portions of the building engulfed in flames.

Crews worked throughout the night combating the fire, which at time spanned hundreds of feet. The blaze was under control by 6 a.m. Wednesday, firefighters said.  

“It was a veryn very fast-moving fire with extremely flammable contents,” Deputy Fire Chief Robert Strong said. "Fortunately this is an industrial area.”

Firefighters were unable to get inside the building to fight the fire because the structure became unstable, a fire official said. At one point, witnesses at the scene saw part of one of the warehouse's exterior walls crumble to the ground.

"When these fires are like this, where the buildings become unstable, we can't get in close enough to quickly put it out," said FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Jack Mooney.

Recycled cardboard and other materials complicated firefighting efforts, Deputy Chief Brendan McSweeney said.

"We had large bales of cardboard strapped with steel straps and we had rags throughout, so getting to the very seat of all this smoldering cardboard and rags was very difficult," he said. "It's a very time-consuming process."

Firefighters said they received no complaints of abnormal air quality while the recycling materials burned.

Four firefighters sustained minor injuries from battling the blaze, Strong said. No nearby buildings were damaged.

Photo courtesy John Swords

Photo courtesy Anna Wiszowata

Photo courtesy Anna Wiszowata

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