Massive industrial park fire in Hillsborough Township, NJ contained after burning 18+ hours

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NewsCopter 7 over the massive warehouse fire in Hillsborough Twp., NJ

A fire at an industrial park in Somerset County, NJ that continued to burn through Friday morning has been contained to two buildings.

Just before 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the blaze at the warehouse complex on U.S. 206 in Hillsborough Township broke out, raging on overnight and producing large plumes of smoke that could be seen for miles.

Route 206 was reopened Friday morning, after it closed during the evening rush hour Thursday, but Hillsborough schools were closed. They will reopen next week.

Firefighters worked through the night, with 30 towns providing mutual aid and more than 200 vehicles. Tanker operations on the scene continued around 10 a.m.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection DEP and the federal Environmental Protection Agency were on the scene to continue air quality monitoring. All readings so far Friday morning had been well within standards.

John del Giorno was in NewsCopter7 Friday morning:
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John Del Giorno in NewsCopter7

The fire is contained but not yet under control.

A.J. Ross was live in New Jersey Thursday night:

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AJ Ross reports from Hillsborough.

Several warehouses have burned down in the park. "I've been in the fire service for 33 years; this is right up there with the biggest fire that we've seen," said Christopher Weniger, chief fire marshal in Hillsborough.

The bright orange flames increased in intensity as weather conditions worked against the volunteer firefighters. "The wind was blowing it so horribly that we couldn't, we would set up to try and stop it and it would run right by us," Weniger said.

In addition to blustery winds and chilling temperatures, fire marshals said inadequate sprinkler systems and outdated water supplies made their job harder as the fire peaked at seven alarms.

Smoke from the fire could be seen for miles Friday. From an Eyewitness News viewer:

Up-close, smoke pouring out of the warehouse:

It produced massive plumes of smoke that stretched for nearly 50 miles, large enough to be seen on Eyewitness News' weather radar.

"This is a very old facility, the water supply that's in here; the water lines that are underground in here are very old and small," Weniger said.

Just what sparked the blaze inside these warehouses storing furniture, records, and plastic pellets is still unknown, but crews were able to contain the flames to just two buildings.

Officials said some rail cars behind the property were also consumed, but fortunately no chemicals were inside. "Firefighting in the cold water wind all that stuff takes a toll on everybody and so that certainly is making it hazardous work conditions with ice on the ground on our people," Weniger said.

Fortunately, fire officials say there have been no injuries and there are no homes directly on this fire's path.

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