NORTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — About 200 residents who were evacuated because of a large warehouse fire in central New Jersey are waiting to learn when they can return home.

White smoke is rising from the building on Livingston Avenue in North Brunswick as firefighters Thursday continue to spray water on hot spots.

The fire broke out around 2 a.m. Wednesday in the rear of the complex that is used by eight businesses, officials said.

“It started in the center of the building into the warehouse section,” Fire Chief Donald Salzmann said. “It spread then to the north end of the building and then continued to spread to the southern end of the building.”

PHOTOS: North Brunswick Warehouse Fire

The massive blaze lit up the night sky and the billowing thick smoke was visible on a weather satellite photo.

Residents of a nearby apartment building were ordered to leave after heat from the blaze set the siding on fire. Others were moved as a precaution over fears of potential toxins being released from burning plastic.

“We’re going to monitor all the air qualities, we’re not going to allow residents back in the building until we’re definitely sure the air quality is good and there aren’t any hazards for them that they cant occupy the building,” said Salzmann.

Many said they awoke to the smell of smoke and the sounds of several explosions.

“It was loud, almost like thunder, like explosions and that’s what woke me out of my sleep,” said evacuated resident Yolanda Brewer.

Officials monitoring the air quality say the smoke is an irritant, but they have not detected any environmental impact.

“We are seeing some carbon monoxide and some compounds you see in a regular fire. The game plan is to continue monitoring,” NJ DEP Emergency Management Director Bob Van Fossen said.

There is no word what sparked the inferno.

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