NORTH BRUNSWICK - Firefighters in North Brunswick are wrapping up a second day of fighting a massive fire at a warehouse on Livingston Avenue. Crews are expected to remain on scene into Friday as hot spots still exist.
The 200 residents who were evacuated from their homes because of the fire are hoping they will be allowed to return home Friday. Residents were kept away Thursday due to the smoky conditions. They were allowed back inside their homes only with a police escort to retrieve essential belongings.
The fire started Wednesday at around 2 a.m. in the rear of the warehouse complex. At the height of the fire, smoke could be seen as far south as Ocean County and the smoke plume showed up on weather satellite.
One hundred fire companies from 11 counties came to fight the fire. The tankers were running a water shuttle from a nearby lake in an effort to reduce the strain on the water system.
One of the businesses housed in the warehouse was a plastics company. There were concerns that the burning plastics would produce chemicals that were harmful to residents. NJ DEP Emergency Management Director Bob Van Fossen says that although air quality tests continue to show no toxins in the air, the lingering smoky conditions make it unsafe to return home.
Firefighters on Thursday continued to spray water on hot spots from what remains of the building that housed several businesses. Fire officials believe the fire is about 90 percent contained.
Excavators have been brought in to tear down parts of the ruins of the warehouse to allow firefighters access to hot spots.
Fire officials hope to get into the remains of the building on Friday to begin their investigation.