Photo Story: N.J., FDNY Crews Battle Recycling Plant Fire

A massive fire destroyed a recycling facility in Woodbridge Township on April 25, 2014, drawing more than 100 firefighters from several counties to the scene to battle the intense blaze.

The Keasbey and Hopelawn fire departments responded just after 9:00 p.m. to Bayshore Recycling on Crows Mill Rd. Firefighters arrived on scene and found a large section of the building heavily involved in fire, causing the steel structure to weaken and suffer early collapse. The fire was well advanced and through the roof forcing firefighters to set up a defensive operation from the beginning.

A collapse zone was immediately established as large steel structural members and sheet metal were crashing to the ground as the fire continued to rage. Multiple supply lines were established to place 2 ½-inch hand lines and tower ladders in service, but dead hydrants and low water pressure in the area hampered operations.

In turn, fireboats from Perth Amboy, Newark, Jersey City and FDNY were summoned to a nearby dock to relay water to the scene from the Raritan River. In addition, a task force consisting of two dozen tankers responded from Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset and Mercer counties to establish a tanker shuttle from multiple fill sites that were set up in the area. 

Several hours into the incident the Neptune System from Union County was brought to the scene, which consists of very large diameter hose and master stream appliances to deliver the maximum water flow at the scene.

At the height of the incident more than a half dozen tower ladders were in operation along with several portable monitors to keep the fire confined to the original area. Water continued to flow on the large piles of burning debris throughout the night and into the next day. Access was limited to firefighters due to the compromised structure in danger of further collapse. Large machines were needed to pull the burning debris from the building to extinguish the remaining deep seated fire.

Personnel from central New Jersey were rotated throughout the operation to continue firefighting efforts and bring the fire under control.

The building was occupied and in full operation at the time of the fire, but all employees were able to make it out safely. There were no civilian or firefighter injuries reported at the scene. The building appears to be a loss due to the amount of structural damage sustained from the heavy collapse.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by local fire officials, but appears to have started in the containment area.