HILLSBOROUGH, NJ  - Township firefighters were honored for their bravery by the Township Committee on the first anniversary of the massive fire that consumed 500,000 square feet of warehouse space at Veterans Industrial Park, the former VA Depot on Route 206.

It took 15 hours before the Feb. 12, 2016 fire was brought under control, with more than 500 firefighters from 85 fire companies throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania responding.

The plume of smoke at one point stretched 43 miles long, and was detected by satellite before moving off the Jersey shore across the Atlantic Ocean.

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It was an extremely difficult fire to contain given the sheer magnitude of the blaze coupled with the challenges presented by the wind and the extreme cold. Hillsborough’s firefighters and emergency responders were put to the test in battling the fire.

“We are so thankful and appreciative to all of the firefighters, Hillsborough Township Board of Fire Safety, Police Officers and EMS Squad who worked so hard in spite of brutal conditions at the Somerville Industrial Park fire,” said Mayor Carl Suraci at Tuesday's Township Committee meeting.

"Our local firefighters are all volunteers and always willing to lay their lives on the line to protect our community and respond to this difficult challenge. We owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude," Suraci said.

Members of Hillsborough Fire Companies 1, 2, & 3 and Neshanic Fire Company attended the meeting where they received certificates of appreciation for their efforts fighting the fire.

“On behalf of the Township Committee, we would like to thank everyone who once again showed all who were watching why we are one of the Best Places to Live in America,” added Committeeman Frank DelCore.