A major fire destroyed a large factory/warehouse and pressed firefighters to the limit in Passaic. Companies initially dispatched to a car fire on Route 21 just before 2030 quickly realized they had more than a car fire when they reported a large column of smoke while en route. On arrival, companies confirmed the address as on Canal Street and reported heavy fire in a large factory, approximately 250- x 325-feet, and a second alarm was requested, quickly followed by a third. With a heavy fire condition through the roof and spreading rapidly, exterior lines were put into operation as master streams were being set up. Access to the property was limited and Route 21 was shut down so that aerial streams could be set up on the highway which ran adjacent to the fire building. Additional alarms were requested bringing numerous mutual aid companies to the scene and the Passaic Valley Water Commission was requested to boost pressure as much as possible. The main exposure was a large warehouse that housed a pool supply company and stored a large quantity of chlorine; crews were successful in protecting that building. Eleven alarms were transmitted, bringing over 200 firefighters from six counties to the scene. The fire was placed under control by Chief Trentacost approximately 12 hours later. At the height of the fire, flames rose almost 100-feet above the building and the tremendous smoke condition was visible for miles. Large embers rained down on neighborhoods southeast of the fire but no additional fires were reported. At least 12 firefighters were reported injured mainly due to slips and falls, however only one was transported. Several fire boats were dispatched as the back half of the building fronted the Passaic River but they were unable to be utilized and fuel trucks were brought into the scene to re-fuel apparatus as they began to run low.
– Fire News photos by Peter Danzo