One person has been confirmed dead at a waste transfer facility in Elizabeth following a fire that started Tuesday afternoon.

It was not the only waste facility fire in the state. Another fire was reported in New Brunswick, where water supply hampered efforts at putting out the flames.

The fire at the Waste Management facility on Julia Street in Elizabeth was declared under control late Tuesday night and the fire was completely out Wednesday morning, according to city spokeswoman Ruby Contreras.

The roof collapsed and the building has been declared a total loss. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The initial cause was thought to be machinery, according to Contreras.

A body discovered Wednesday morning is presumed to be the one employee who has been missing since the fire started around 2 p.m. Tuesday. Contreras did not disclose the worker's identity pending an examination by a Medical Examiner.

A couple who works at a warehouse across the street told CBS New York said the missing employee was an older man.

Elizabeth waste transfer station after a fire 5/10/22
Elizabeth waste transfer station after a fire 5/10/22 (CBS New York)

Residents allowed home

Elizabeth Mayor Christian Bollwage told NBC4 New York that he was concerned about the air quality given the construction waste and furniture the facility handles. Contreras said the DEP and the county have tested the air and determined it to be "fine."

There was the smell of smoke in some areas during the fire which sent thick smoke into the air before firefighters got a handle on the blaze.

A shelter-in-place was lifted Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. and residents were allowed to return to their homes.

Julia Street was reopened to traffic on Wednesday morning.

Operations at Newark Liberty International Airport were unaffected by the fire.

Fire at the Solterra Recycling waste transfer facility on Jersey Avenue in New Brunswick 5/10/22
Fire at the Solterra Recycling waste transfer facility on Jersey Avenue in New Brunswick 5/10/22 (East Franklin Fire Department)

A waste facility fire in New Brunswick

There was also a fire inside the Solterra Recycling waste transfer facility on Jersey Avenue in New Brunswick on Tuesday afternoon.

New Brunswick Fire Department Deputy Chief Hasahya Hirya told TAP into New Brunswick that the fire started at the top of a 20-foot pile of trash inside the building. The chief said there was no evidence of fire on the building's exterior.

Two hydrants located nearby were out of service, according to Hirya. Several fire companies formed a supply line to bring water to firefighters.

Jersey Avenue was closed to traffic.

A spokesman for the city on Wednesday morning did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for more information.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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