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Hillsborough officials say antiquated sprinkler systems and low water pressure caused difficulties battling the massive fire at two industrial park office buildings that continued Friday evening, more than a day after it began.

Fire Chief Chris Weniger was meeting with federal officials late Friday afternoon about the property, township spokeswoman Pam Borek said. She said Hillsborough officials had expressed concerns about inadequate fire suppression systems at the warehouses previously, but because they were on federally owned property, their jurisdiction was limited.

"Had it been a non-jurisdictional issue, had Hillsborough had jurisdiction, there might have been more done," Borek said. She said some limited improvements had been made to the systems to address Hillsborough's concerns.

Borek didn't have information immediately available about whether the federal government or the reality company leasing space from it on the property would have been responsible for improvements. She also didn't have information immediately available about what federal department managed the property.

"A lot of this will probably unfold in the coming days, or early next week. I believe you'll get some more clarity then," Borek said. For now, she said, officials were most concerned with extinguishing the fire and keeping neighboring properties safe.

As of Friday night, the warehouse fire — which on Thursday had sent smoke as far as 130 miles from the site, according to radar images — was still continuing in strength. Borek said it was expected to continue at least into Saturday, and possibly for longer.

One firefighter had injured his leg and another his eye during the operation, but no one else had been hurt. Officials said dozens of fire companies, many of them volunteer (including all of Hillsborough's) had been at the blaze over the day.

Route 206, which had been shut for long periods during the firefighting operation, reopened ahead of rush hour Friday.

 

 

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