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Tankers in the City

By RON JEFFERS, New Jersey Editor | January 29, 2021 | NEW JERSEY

Story No. 020121111

Passaic, NJ - In the middle of one of New Jersey's most densely populated cities, a tanker task force operation was established during the multiple-alarm blaze that destroyed the block-long Atlantic Coast Fibers recycling business at 101 Seventh St., January 29th.

All employees were safely evacuated as fire companies arrived, shortly before midnight. There were many flammable materials reported to be in the plant.

β€œIn the recycling business, people don't throw out the right things,” said Chris Riviello, owner of the business.

As the fire rapidly spread, water pressure and water supply from different water mains became an issue. Another issue was a windy night with temperatures in the teens and icy conditions.

Relay pumping was utilized using various mutual aid companies. The flames continued to spread, causing burning embers to rain over the city. Several explosions were reported during the height of the fire. Mutual aid fire and medical units came into the city from four counties.

Around 2:30 A.M., a water relay and tanker shuttle system was initiated by West Milford Fire Company 4, along with Companies 1 and 6. The set up included using four Fold-a-Tanks for an estimated 220,000-gallons of water used in the firefighting operations, according to firefighters. The Shoprite parking lot, opposite the fire on Eighth Street, was used as the water relay site. A draft site at the Passaic River and a fire hydrant relay system were set up. Fire units that assisted included those from Lincoln Park, Mendham, Ringwood and Mount Tabor.

Tanker, or tender, fire apparatus used in the relay came from West Milford, Upper Saddle River, Jefferson Township, Picatinny Arsenal, Mt. Arlington, Kinnelon, Bernardsville, Mahwah and Fort Lee.

This operation was terminated around 1:30 P.M., January 30th, as smoldering materials continued to be wet down by area pumpers. Later that evening, pockets of fire lit up and some mutual aid fire companies returned to duty at the scene. Plans for demolitions of the remains of the structure had also begun at this time.

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.