One person has been confirmed dead at a waste transfer facility in Elizabeth following a fire that broke out on Tuesday afternoon.
It wasn’t the only fire at a waste management facility in the state. Another fire was reported in New Brunswick, where the water supply hampered efforts to extinguish the flames.
The fire at the Julia Street Waste Management Facility in Elizabeth was declared under control late Tuesday evening and the blaze was fully extinguished Wednesday morning, according to city spokeswoman Ruby Contreras.
The roof collapsed and the building was declared a total loss. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The initial cause was thought to be the machinery, according to Contreras.
A body discovered Wednesday morning is presumed to be the only employee missing since the blaze began around 2 p.m. Tuesday. Contreras did not reveal the identity of the worker pending an examination by a medical examiner.
A couple who work at a warehouse across the street told CBS New York that the missing employee was an older man.
Residents allowed to return home
Elizabeth Mayor Christian Bollwage told NBC4 New York that he is concerned about air quality given the construction waste and furniture the facility manages. Contreras said the DEP and the county tested the air and determined it was “good.”
There was a smell of smoke in some areas during the fire which sent thick smoke into the air before firefighters brought the blaze under control.
A shelter-in-place was lifted Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. and residents were allowed to return to their homes.
Julia Street was reopened to traffic on Wednesday morning.
Operations at Newark Liberty International Airport were unaffected by the fire.
Fire at a waste management facility in New Brunswick
A fire also broke out inside the Solterra Recycling waste transfer facility on Jersey Avenue in New Brunswick on Tuesday afternoon.
New Brunswick Fire Department Deputy Chief Hasahya Hirya told TAP New Brunswick that the fire started atop a 20-foot trash pile inside the building. The chief said there was no evidence of fire outside the building.
Two nearby fire hydrants were out of service, according to Hirya. Several fire companies formed a supply line to bring water to firefighters.
Jersey Avenue was closed to traffic.
A city spokesperson Wednesday morning did not respond to New Jersey 101.5’s request for additional information.
Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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