A huge fire at a Waste Management facility in New Jersey sent thick, black plumes of smoke billowing into the air Tuesday afternoon, and one person remains unaccounted for, according to officials.
The fire at the building on Julia Street in Elizabeth broke out around 2 p.m., and quickly escalated to five alarms, city officials said. Firefighters worked diligently, spraying water into the oppressively thick black smoke.
There was also a partial roof collapse, the mayor confirmed, and given the amount of fire, there were no plans to enter the building.
Firefighters could only contain the flames and keep people away, for their own safety. The fire was finally under control just before 11 p.m. Nearby homes were evacuated as the blaze raged, and machinery may have sparked the fire.
No injuries were reported, although the city said that one person, a worker at the facility, was unaccounted for as of midnight.
Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage said that the fire is expected to last for hours, and won't likely be put out fully until Wednesday. Bollwage also said that the fire has provoked the partial roof collapse of the structure.
Many who live in the area were concerned about the air quality, especially considering what was burning. The facility is a bulk waste transfer station, for larger items like construction waste and furniture, according to Bollwage.