Hillsborough NJ warehouse fire contained, almost 24 hours later

February 18, 2016 | By Garrett Montgomery More

A warehouse fire in Hillsborough, NJ has been contained after almost 24 hours. According to New Jersey firefighters, no one has been severely harmed by the massive fire, but it damaged two buildings and forced the closures of several schools.

Hillsborough warehouse fire

NJ firefighters took more than 24 hours to contain a Hillsborough warehouse fire and thus far, officials have no idea what caused it. On Thursday at around 3 PM, Hillsborough Chief Fire Marshall Chris Weniger, his fire crew, and firefighters from more than 30 towns in 200 vehicles arrived at one of the biggest disasters in New Jersey.

The teams came to stop a massive fire, which was tearing up Veterans Industrial Park – according to officials, plastic pellets were being stored in most of the federally-owned complex. The inferno burned through two buildings, each of them 240,000 square feet.

According to Weniger, the warehouse fire is the biggest blaze he has seen in his 33-year career. Mr. Weniger revealed that “shifting winds helped spread the flames and cause additional pop-up fires from embers.” Firefighters also had to battle the harsh winter weather during the night. The fire official added that two firefighters have sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

The fire/smoke, which was several miles away, prompted the closure of Route 206 for much of Thursday and Friday. All Hillsborough Township Public Schools were closed Friday. Bradley Gardens Fire Chief Frank Ur added:

“We didn’t arrive at a small fire and it grew. We arrived at a large fire. Also, the wind was a big factor. I can’t even imagine being a first responder, I’m just glad no one got seriously hurt.”

On Saturday, Weniger was happy to announce that the fire was officially contained and that the cause of the fire remains under investigation. However, this did not stop him from sharing some theories on the cause of the fire saying that an outdated sprinkler system and aging hydrants “led to inadequate water pressure for firefighters trying to quell the blaze that tore through the Hillsborough warehouse complex.” He added:

“The township has little, if any, jurisdiction to require anything there because it’s federal property. If we had full jurisdiction there, those sprinkler systems and water systems would have been updated.”

Residents from Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer, and Morris are worried that the thick black smoke that they are inhaling might be toxic. However, Township Health Director Dr. Glen Belnay said all is well, and stated:

“levels of toxins were never an issue and so-called particle pollution from soot was only briefly above the safety threshold…..The numbers have dropped dramatically. We’re really out of the air quality concern portion of this event.”

Many commenters are furious by the lack of update on the fire and have taken to social media to bash Governor Chris Christie for lying to them. One person said:

“Another Flynt Michigan situation is broiling, what is Chris Christie hiding? a donut won’t get you out of this buddy nor a burger.”

Another added:

“If the army left the complex how come the media is reporting that munitions were exploding and landing in Manville 5 miles away.”

A third, who claimed to have witnessed the fire, explained:

“I live 2 blocks from this place and assure you all is not well. They are not telling the full story. the smoke was dark and I think toxic. Why are they talking to the workers? The feds are lying about wat was being stored in there, that is for sure.”

What are your thoughts on Christie’s handling of the situation?

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