A Hillsborough, NJ warehouse fire has prompted the federal government to investigate. The fire at a complex in Somerset County raged for more than 20 hours along a major highway, although the government owns the complex and leased it to the company that subleases it to other businesses, according to New Jersey Online.
The warehouse fire has prompted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, which has arrived Friday. ATF officials were back on the Hillsborough, NJ scene Saturday morning as firefighters searched for any remaining hotspots.
A big part of the Hillsborough, NJ warehouse fire operation is bringing tanker trucks filled with water to the site, pumping the water into portable pools and then spraying the water onto the blaze. Two firefighters have sustained injuries, Aiello reported.
The Hillsborough fire chief says that low water pressure made fighting the fire difficult. Township officials alerted the federal government that the water infrastructure surrounding the complex was inadequate and potentially dangerous if a fire were to break out there.
“We have apparatus issues because of the weather. The firefighters have to be rotated in and out on a very regular basis because of that,” Chief Fire Marshall Christopher Weniger said.
The NJ fire started Thursday afternoon. The smoke plume was large enough to be detected by weather radar.
“It’s amazing that it’s still going strong,” said Franklin Rainear.
Two firefighters were hurt while fighting the fire. One firefighter hurt his leg and another suffered an injury to his eye. Both firefighters are expected to be OK.
No one who was inside the Hillsborough warehouse at the time of the fire was hurt. Local schools were closed Friday due to the amount of smoke in the area. However, officials say that the smoke cloud did not contain any extra toxins other than what is present in normal fire smoke.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Environmental Protection Agency continue to monitor the air quality, and say that the air remains safe.
The large complex is located near the historic Duke Farms. It once housed old military munitions. The warehouse currently stores plastic pellets. Hillsborough’s fire chief says it is these pellets that caused the fire to burn for so long.
“It was frightening. It’s quite huge to say the least,” said Don Dix.
Fire crews from more than 30 towns sent more than 200 vehicles to help fight the NJ fire. Shifting winds did help spread the flames and cause additional pop-up fires from embers. Firefighters also had to battle the bitter cold during the night.
Hillsborough Township said it has warned the management company for years that insufficient water supply would make it hard to fight a major fire there.
“Although there are water hydrants on there, the pressure that we’re getting and the flow is very very small,” Weniger said.
News footage from the Hillsborough, NJ warehouse fire showed flames and heavy smoke pouring into the air. Some trailers parked outside also caught on fire as crews worked to contain the blaze. A local highway has now been reopened.