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Major Chemical Fire Darkens Jersey Skyline

Local GovernmentPort Authority of New York and New Jersey

BAYONNE, NJ (PIX11) -- A major industrial fire erupted early Wednesday evening in Bayonne, NJ, and was visible from miles away with billowing dark plumes of smoke.  The blaze appeared to be linked to several power transformers burning at a power cogeneration plant in an industrial area of new jersey.

For first responders the immediate goal was to protect several chemical storage tanks, which were very close to the flames.

The fire erupted around 7:30 p.m. tonight and quickly leapt to three alarms, triggering road closures and evacuation fears.  The smoke was clearly visible on Staten Island, and from
Brooklyn and Manhattan's west side.

Port Authority police shut down the Bayonne Bridge temporarily and local police briefly closed route 40 from 5th street northbound and 30th street southbound.

Authorities quickly declared a hazardous materials situation and established an initial perimeter of at least 1000 feet because of the electrical nature of the fire only foam - no water - was to
be used to douse the flames which early on were threatening a 2000 gallon fluoride tank.

The flames which could still be seen burning into the late evening broke out at international matex tank terminal.  According to published reports that's a 520-acre facility with hundreds of tanks handling petroleum and specialty chemicals.

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