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DV Pilot Police & Fire

Stubborn Kearny Chlorine Fire Under Control

Video of the Alden Leeds fire in Kearny, May 17 and 18.
Video of the Alden Leeds fire in Kearny, May 17 and 18. Video Credit: JeffStang Fire Photography

Firefighters from New York, Jersey City, Newark and several other towns helped contain a blaze at a Kearny factory that went to four alarms and spewed a noxious plume of smoke across a broad swath of Hudson County.

The fire, at the Alden Leeds plant on Jacobus Avenue in industrial South Kearny, started at around 10 p.m. Friday and had climbed to four alarms by midnight before firefighters, including crews in fire boats, were able to bring the fire under control Saturday morning.

Alden Leeds manufactures pool cleaning products made of chlorine, complicating efforts to fight the fire. In addition to the chemicals swirling in the heavy smoke, the  fire repeatedly re-kindled due to the chlorine, Chief Steve Dyl of the Kearny Fire Department told WABC 7.

Firefighters inundated the structure with "copious amounts of water" but the burning material would only re-ignite as it dried out, Kyl told the station.

"We're just going back and forth," Kyl said.

Emergency management officials in surrounding communities, including Manhattan and Staten Island, advised residents to stay indoors with the windows closed Friday night to protect themselves against the chemical smoke.

By Saturday morning, that smoke had largely cleared, but officials were still advising people in and around Kearny to head back indoors if they smell the acrid smoke.

"In an abundance of caution we’ll have the JC Fire Dept do air quality sampling in parks/rec areas within JC and keep people posted. While we have no indication of issues we’re still waiting on state DEP for official clearance," Jersey City's mayor, Steve Fulop, said Saturday morning.

The thick, billowing smoke was heaviest over the Pulaski Skyway, which was closed in both directions Friday night. Alden Leeds is adjacent to the skyway.

Closures were still in effect early Saturday morning at the skyway, while parts of Rt. 1 & 9 in Newark and Jersey City remained closed due to the fire.

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