ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Firefighters battled a massive fours alarm in New Jersey for hours overnight.
Explosions were heard at the facility, which hold trucks filled with fuel.
Flames and thick smoke filled the night sky as a fire burned at Elizabeth Truck Center on North Avenue East.
The fire was so big Sunday night it could be seen from nearby Newark Liberty International Airport.
A call came in around 11 p.m. to report the fire and hours later, when Mike Niotis went into work at Seaport Diner, firefighters were still on the scene.
“I could see flames from here, smoke from here. I could smell it when I pulled in this morning about 5 a.m. Looked very serious,” Niotis said.
Fire officials say there were no people inside the building, but according to employees from the truck repair facility there were more than 15 trucks inside the large structure, each holding about 100 gallons of diesel fuel.
“We had explosions on the inside, which was probably caused by flammable liquids, fuel tanks on vehicles and quite a bit of that inside,” said Elizabeth Fire Chief Thomas McNamara.
McNamara said the fire took over the entire building, requiring a lot of water. Firefighters hosed the building for hours. Roughly 100 firefighters fought the blaze.
“We had explosions with the vehicles, gasoline runoff, diesel fuel runoff, you know, igniting. We did have a collapse in the rear. So the age of the structure and the amount of fire we had weakened the structure,” McNamara said. “Our main concern at that point was safety to the firefighters, set up collapse zones, and again just use the reach of our streams from a distance so we didn’t put anyone in harm’s way.”
To find where to direct the water onto the main body of the fire, the fire department had the help of Elizabeth police, who brought in drones to get an overhead view.
The next step is the cleanup, and figuring out the cause.
One firefighter was treated at a nearby hospital after tripping on the scene and hurting his shoulder.
Officials said the fire is not causing any delays at the airport, but drivers should expect some traffic issues until the scene is cleared.