Fire rips through warehouse in NJ

A massive, multi-alarm warehouse fire continues to burn Wednesday night in North Brunswick after starting more than 18 hours ago.

The fire broke out Wednesday morning at around 2 a.m. in the rear of a warehouse complex on Livingstone Avenue that is used by several businesses. At the height of the fire, smoke could be seen as far south as Ocean County and the smoke plume showed up on weather radar.

North Brunswick Fire Chief Donald Salzman says the fire seems to have started in the center of the warehouse, consuming everything in its path. Among the businesses destroyed in the fire were a plastics company and an auto repair shop.

Chief Salzman says firefighters focused much of their effort on the part of the building that housed the plastics company. It is because of the burning plastics that the Environmental Protection Agency is monitoring the air quality. An EPA official says current readings have not revealed any health threats, but testing of the air as well as water will continue for the next few days.

Dozens of residents of a nearby apartment complex were evacuated as a precaution. Linwood Middle School has been set up as an emergency shelter for residents, as well as their pets. Residents had to be bussed over to the school because many of their cars were blocked in by fire equipment.

About 100 people signed up with the American Red Cross for assistance. Due to the smoky conditions, residents will not be allowed back home Wednesday night. Those who cannot stay with friends and family will be allowed to stay at the middle school.

Fire departments from several nearby towns were called in to help fight the fire. At one point, there were 44 fire engines, 10 ladder trucks and 35 tankers on the scene. The tankers were running a water shuttle from a nearby lake. This was to prevent nearby residents from running out of water.

One firefighter was treated for minor hand injuries. No residents were reported as being injured.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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