Expect Hillsborough fire to be burning, Route 206 to be shut Friday morning
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UPDATE, FRIDAY 6 a.m.: Route 206 is back open, and Hillsborough schools are closed as the fire continues.
As of 10:30 Thursday night, the massive Hillsborough warehouse fire that sent thick black smoke into multiple counties was still raging — and officials expected it would be Friday morning as well.
"Say a prayer for the firefighters. They are in for a long night," Mayor Frank Delcore wrote on his Facebook page.
Route 206 was still closed in between Dukes Parkway West and Route 514/Amwell Road. as well. Township Clerk Pam Borek told New Jersey 101.5 she expected that at least some portion of Route 206 would remain closed and detoured in the morning.
Seven hours into the massive fire — which had consumed two buildings in the Somerset Business Park — no one had been hurt battling the blaze, and "we're obviously very thankful for that," Borek said. Ash and debris were reportedly falling into the Manville area.
Hillsborough firefighters had "extensive mutual aid" from other area companies, Borek said, though she didn't have a list of all involved immediately available.
Power was out for a few dozen properties, though it wasn't clear late Saturday if any were residential. Borek said anyone needing a place to get warm and unable to do so through friends or family should call police, who could provide them with a warming center. The Hillsborough Police non-emergency number is 908-369-4323.
The state DEP and federal EPA were continuing to monitor air quality overnight, Borek said. The EPA had installed six monitoring stations that would remain in place so long as the smoke remained a concern. Borek said as of 10:30, officials were still recommending residents shelter in place, and not evacuate.
But they should keep their windows closed — "It's freezing, so no one has their windows open anyway, but just in case" — and spend minimal time outdoors, she said.
Borek said she still didn't have information about what sort of businesses had been housed in the burning buildings. The park was formerly home to a Veterans Administration depot.
Schools had not announced any closings or delayed openings related to the fire, but Borek said that determination would be made early Friday morning.