KEARNY — Residents are being told they can reopen their windows after an explosive fire at a chemical plant late Friday night sent thick smoke and strong fumes into the air, closing the Pulaski Skyway.

The fire at the Alden Leeds plant on Jacobus Avenue in the South Kearny section led officials in Newark, Jersey City, Bayonne and Hoboken to warn residents to keep their windows closed overnight.

Chlorine gas is poisonous and can burn the eyes, nose and skin and make it difficult to breathe. The Kearny Fire Department warned that inhaling smoke from the fire could cause "severe respiratory distress."

The fire was first reported around 10 p.m., according to CBS New York.

Bayonne's Office of Emergency Management on Saturday morning said that testing by the state Department of Environmental Protection determined air quality levels were "well within acceptable levels for our area" and there was no danger to the city.

Hoboken officials credited southeast winds for keeping the smoke away. Residents could reopen their windows and all city events and activities were going on as scheduled, according to an alert they sent on Nixle.

The Pulaski Skyway remained closed at 7 a.m.

Kearny officials on Saturday had not released information about the cause of the fire.

Alden Leeds is a manufacturer of swimming pool, spa chemicals and pelletized concentrates. Many of their products are sold under the "Nu-clo" brand name.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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