🔥 The fire is in a building away from the street in the Elizabeth Industrial Park

🔥 Thick black smoke could be seen for miles

🔥 Smoke from the fire drifted south to the Jersey Shore


ELIZABETH – A fire at a building inside an industrial park sent thick black smoke into the air that could be seen for miles before just before dawn Friday morning.

Elizabeth city spokeswoman Ruby Contreras said the fire at the Elizabeth Industrial Park along Trumbull Street and Atalanta Plaza started around 5:30 a.m. and was reported by a passerby who noticed the flames.

Video shows the fire centered in a building away from the street along some railroad tracks. Part of the building has collapsed, according to Contreras.

Smoke from Elizabeth fire seen from Manhattan 1/5/23
Smoke from Elizabeth fire seen from Manhattan 1/5/23 (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage on his X account warned residents that may experience a "significant drop in water pressure" due to multiple mutual aids currently trying to combat the flames.

More than 100 firefighters were on the scene of the four-alarm fire, according to Bollwage. Mutual aid assistance was being given by numerous area fire departments, and New York City lent firefighting boats to help battle the blaze.

Contreras said there are no reports of any injuries or anyone inside the building at the time.

Schools impacted

Elizabeth school superintendent Olga Hugelmeyer announced that the district's School 13  (Benjamin Franklin School) is on a delayed opening and School 52 (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School early childhood center) closed due to the fire.

Historical nature of the fire location

The industrial park is in the city's Elizabethport section next to the railyard south of Jersey Gardens mall.

A map shows the building houses a company called DAL Distributors. Hudson County Commissioner and director of Elizabeth's city development corporation Bill O'Dea told the New York Times the building housed the first Singer sewing machine factory in the country.

In 1873 the Singer Sewing Machine Manufacturing Company purchased 32 acres at the site, and established the factory where it would make the iconic machines for more than a century. It was the largest workforce plant in the world for a single establishment at the time.

After the war, the plant was cranking out 10,000 sewing machines a year, and as many 40,000 workers punched a clock there.

Public records show the building sold for $1 million in August.

Smoke from Elizabeth fire seen on radar 1/5/24
Smoke from Elizabeth fire seen on radar 1/5/24 (Radarscope)

Smoke drifts south

The smoke and smell from the fire drifted as far south as Monmouth County, according to New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow.  The smoke was also visible on radar.

Bollwage told NBC 4 New York that plastics stored inside the building may have contributed to the black smoke. He expected the fire will take some time to put out.

The state Department of Environmental Protection along with the Environmental Protection Agency is monitoring the air quality around the fire scene, according to DEP spokesman Larry Hajna. None of the affected businesses handled hazardous materials.

"Air monitoring is focusing on downwind locations and sensitive populations, which may include schools, hospitals, day cares and similar facilities. Monitoring will continue throughout the course of the event. People in the area should follow the direction of local officials regarding avoiding the scene and taking appropriate precautions to avoid inhaling smoke," Hajna said in a statement.

(Includes material copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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