SEAFORD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A massive fire broke out Monday in a pool supply store in Seaford, Long Island – triggering evacuations and forcing a nearby school to postpone dismissal.
The fire broke out Monday afternoon at the Island Recreational Pool Supplies location at 1059 Hicksville Rd. in Seaford. The evacuations in the immediate area were due to chlorine and other chemicals involved, officials told CBS 2.
Several other stores in the same strip mall were also destroyed.
As CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, the fire was officially under control by 5 p.m. But the blaze was not completely out.
Earlier, the fire sent enormous plumes of black, billowing smoke pouring over the South Shore of Long Island.
A witness, Rich Yonkers, told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria he watched as the store and three others went up in flames.
“It was, like, insane – the flames were so high. I was standing over there and I felt the heat coming off,” he said, adding that the smoke was “pitch black, like it was covering the sun, almost.”
Others said the smoke seemed dangerous.
“It covered up the whole road – like I was coming down this way, and I had to stop, because you couldn’t see. It was black, it was puffy, and it was huge,” one woman said.
“It’s really a shame. I just thank God nobody got hurt, and I thank God for the response of the fire department – they were here within four or five minutes, they came down, and thank God that they were,” said a man who owns a pizza parlor in the strip mall.
A total of 12 fire departments were called out, including the fire marshal and the hazardous materials team.
While firefighters said they had not yet received their big summer delivery and thus, there were fewer chemicals than there might have been, air testing was very much a concern.
“Everybody used their self-contained breathing apparatus. Throughout the course, we had people here monitoring the air, but there was no high levels or anything at the time,” said North Massapequa Fire Chief Robert Schmidgall.
Some 300 children were held in school because of the air quality concerns. Hagedorn Little Village School for special needs children held kids inside and would not dismiss them as a result of the fire.
When air quality testing came back showing the air was safe, the school was dismissed.
The wind was blowing south during the fire, causing the smoke to billow above the neighborhood rather than sitting in the neighborhood. Neighbors felt better that they were not breathing the worst of the smoke.
One firefighter suffered minor injuries in fighting the blaze. The cause remained under investigation, but the fire was believed to have started in the ceiling.
Fire officials said there were flare-ups, but the fire was deemed under control.
Northbound Hicksville Road Route 107 shut down between Thorne Avenue and William Road as crews fought the fire.
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