Murphy praises firefighters for their heroism in battling massive blaze at NJ chemical plant


Governor Phil Murphy traveled to Passaic on Monday to congratulate firefighters who battled the hell of 11 alarms at a chemical plant in the city last week, containing the flames before most of the dangerous chemicals ignited .

“The heroism and bravery of each of these people takes your breath away,” the governor said during a stop at the city’s Eastside Fire Station, according to a pool report.

Hundreds of firefighters from area departments, including Bergen, Essex, Passaic and Union counties, joined Passaic crews to contain soaring flames in freezing temperatures Friday night at Majestic Industries and the Qualco chemical plant on Passaic Street. Hellsmoke was picked up by weather radar and seen in New York City.

Officials said about 100,000 pounds of chlorine burned in the blaze, but firefighters brought the flames under control before the main area of ​​the building, which houses most of the chemicals, was kept.

“We owe them a debt beyond anything my words can express,” said Passaic Mayor Hector Lora. “We owe them this town.”

Officials said 48 engines, 29 ladder companies, rescue trucks and emergency medical units were called out. About 200 firefighters responded to the blaze.

Murphy, the mayor and other officials joined firefighters for pizza and to share thanks for their efforts.

“They never let go, they never let go,” Passaic Fire Chief Patrick Trentacost said.

A firefighter suffered a cut to the face but there were no serious injuries, officials said.

In the early hours of the fire, Lora shared regular updates through her social media account. Officials, he said, initially considered a possible mass evacuation with the threat of a chemical incident in the city of about 70,500 people.

“If it had hit the main plant, it would have been, to say the least, a major incident,” Lora said over the weekend. “There would have been evacuations of many, many individuals.”

“This fire could have been much worse had it not been brought under control as it was,” the governor said during a press briefing on Sunday.

The state Department of Environmental Protection and the federal Environmental Protection Agency responded to the fire, but there were no signs of chemical danger in the air.

“Results are below acute risk levels and monitoring is continuing,” the Environmental Protection Department commissioner said. Shawn LaTourette said on Twitter.

January 17, 2022; Passaic, NJ, Passaic; The aftermath of an 11-alarm fire in a chemical plant on Avenue Passaic. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.comDanielle Parhizkaran/

Investigators were working to determine the cause of the fire.

Last year, Passaic crews battled another 11-alarm fire at a recycling plant in the city.

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Noah Cohen can be attached to [email protected].


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