Second Night Falls on New Jersey Warehouse Fire, Cold Still Hampers Fire Department Efforts

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(Kearny, NJ, January 29, 2004) -- For over 20 hours firefighters have been on the scene of a fire that has ripped through three warehouses in New Jersey. Strong winds and bitterly cold temperatures have made it especially difficult for firefighters to put out the fire at the South Kearny industrial complex.

The massive fire began last night, sending flames and heavy smoke into the air. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

During the day on Thursday, the gray smoke left a haze that dimmed the sky, and left many wondering if they were inhaling toxic fumes.

Steve Turntine, Trucker: "Burn your eyes, I know that in the time I've been here. And I ain't been here but an hour or so."

Rodney Stevens, Trucker: "I don't know, if something is like getting in my system, something I might have to deal with later, or what. Don't smell good -- it ain't dinner."

The owners say the buildings contained items such as office furniture, auto parts, food additives, and juice concentrates. They say it's nothing that could be considered dangerous. However, firefighters are battling this blaze in hazmat protective gear.

Dep. Chief Ozzie Osborn, Kearny Fire Department: "Our guys that are, the firefighters that are actually in there right now, they're wearing their breathing masks. Anyone outside like us, we're fine, we're doing alright."

Several nearby towns have joined the Kearny Fire Department to contain this blaze. They have been called in to relieve exhausted firefighters who are dealing with flare-ups, freezing water lines, a gusty wind, and a stubborn fire that's been raging since about 9:45 Wednesday night.

Fortunately only one person has been hurt, a firefighter who slipped on some ice, but we understand his injury is considered minor.

Firefighters expect that the blaze will continue to burn until some time Friday morning.