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Chemical plant fire prompts evacuations in New Jersey


Smoke is seen near the scene of a fire at a Passaic chemical plant. (PIX11)

PASSAIC, N.J. (WPIX) — A chemical plant fire in New Jersey has public officials urging residents to seal their homes as a vast blaze and smoke plume rage about 10 miles northwest of the Hudson River.

Passaic Mayor Hector Lora took to Facebook to warn residents about the dangerous chemical plant fire in the city. Passaic, New Jersey, sits 10 miles north of Newark and 15 miles west of Manhattan.

“We need you to stay away from the area,” Lora urged. “This is an extremely serious fire because it is still being assessed in terms of the chemicals.”

Lora said in a separate Facebook Live firefighters are battling chlorine, which isn’t combustible on its own but can make a fire more intense, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In his Facebook video, the mayor said fire departments from other New Jersey cities were responding as well.

“I must stress, all residents, please back away from the area,” Lora repeated online. Residents were being evacuated from surrounding areas and told to keep their windows closed in at least one nearby municipality, the Associated Press reports.

Officials upgraded the blaze to an 11-alarm fire Friday evening.

Lora posted another Facebook Live video at about 10:50 p.m. ET, speaking with a firefighter who described the blaze as “not under control.”

“We’re doing everything we can to contain it,” he said.

In the second video, Lora described the situation as “one of the worst” fires he’d seen “in a long time.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy took to Twitter to address the danger, echoing calls for those nearby to keep their windows closed.

“If you live nearby, keep your windows closed. Praying for the safety of our first responders on the scene,” Murphy wrote.

The Passaic Public Information Office said the fire has not caused any injuries as of Friday night.

Nexstar’s WPIX reached out to Lora for comment and further details.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.





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