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Residents urged to close windows near chemical plant fire

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Residents urged to close windows near chemical plant fire

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Authorities say a fire near a New Jersey chemical plant with flames and smoke visible for miles in the night sky has spread to several buildings in the complex, threatening to reach the storage area of factory chemicals.

PASSAIC, NJ – A fire near a New Jersey chemical plant with flames and smoke visible for miles in the night sky spread to several buildings in the complex on Friday, threatening to reach the area of storage of chemicals at the plant, authorities said.

Passaic Mayor Hector Lora told residents in a video posted to Facebook to stay away from the area and keep their windows rolled up.

Lora said firefighters are still assessing the situation. There were no initial reports of loss of life, he said.

Passaic Fire Chief Patrick Trentacost said the building was vacant when the fire broke out.

“Part of the building had chlorine in it and it appears to be under control at the moment,” he said just after midnight. “We’ll be monitoring that as well throughout the night, but we’re certainly far from having control of the fire.”

New York City Emergency Management issued a notification late Friday that residents may see or smell smoke from the fire.

The Qualco Inc. plant is about 13 miles west of Manhattan. It produces chemicals used to treat pools and spas, according to its website. It’s next to Majestic Industries, a designer and manufacturer of gaming and hospitality furniture, Lora said.

It is not known where the fire started or how it started.

The Environmental Protection Department was on hand to assess air quality, Lora said.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy tweeted about the blaze, echoing calls for people who live nearby to keep their windows rolled up.

“We urge everyone in Passaic to stay safe as firefighters battle a large eight-alarm fire at a chemical plant off Highway 21,” Murphy wrote. “Pray for the safety of our first responders at the scene.”

Residents urged to close windows near chemical plant fire

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