Demolition work has begun on the charred remains of a warehouse that was the scene of a massive fire in New Jersey that crews managed to keep away from a nearby chemical plant over the weekend.
Hundreds of firefighters from around the region worked in freezing temperatures Friday night into Saturday battling the blaze at Majestic Industries and the Qualco chemical plant in Passaic.
Mayor Hector Lora told NJ.com that members of the Passaic fire department remained at the site Sunday as a precaution against flareups.
Officials said the blaze was in a vacant building housing plastics, pallets and chlorine. The fire was prevented from reaching the main chemical plant, which could have endangered the densely populated New York City suburbs of New Jersey, Lora said.
Frigid weather froze water from hydrants and hoses, hampering boats trying to draw water from the Passaic River and causing firefighters to slip and fall, Lora said. One firefighter went to the hospital with an eye injury, he said.
Gov. Phil Murphy on Sunday called the blaze “horrendous” and said it could have been much worse had it not been contained. He noted the injuries to first responders and said he was grateful “that everyone appears to be in good condition.”
Federal and state environmental officials said air monitoring has found no acute risk to the pubic. The cause of the fire remains under investigation but Lora said it is not considered suspicious.