WAYNE, NJ – On Monday night at 6:47pm, Wayne first responders responded to a major structure fire in a commercial building that stored large amounts of oil which leaked across Hamburg Turnpike and the Ramapo River.
Wayne fire dispatch was first alerted by the Pompton Lakes police department of a structural fire near the Pompton Lakes/Wayne border. Soon many calls were coming in to report the fire.
Upon arrival, Wayne Police and Fire units were able to determine that the structure had been safely evacuated.
“A Fire Department 360-degree survey of the building showed a one-story commercial building with the rear third of the structure (that housed a machine shop) fully engulfed in flames,” said Wayne Fire Commissioner Bob Minarick.
The roof of the building had completely collapsed over the fire and three of the outside walls were either showing structural failure or had already partially collapsed.
A Second and Third alarm were quickly declared and Wayne Fire Companies One and Two were called to the scene, joining Companies Three, Four and Five.
“Fire Department Command structure determined the attack would be strictly externally aggressive with initial primary focus on protecting a four-story self-storage facility that was in close proximity to the fire building,” said Minarick. “Three aerial apparatus from Wayne and one from Pompton Lakes were utilized as the primary means of containment and extinguishment.”
Hand-held hoses were used to protect the rest of the building and to assist with ground-level extinguishment.
“The fire wall within the building, separating the rear third of the unit from the front portion was instrumental in saving two-thirds of the building,” said Minarick.
The fire was declared under control at 9:15PM.
“Preliminarily, it appeared that the fire was ignited by sparks created during metal grinding work in a truck repair shop located in the rear of the building,” said Detective Captain Dan Daly of the Wayne Police Department.
The fire is not considered suspicious but is still under investigation by the Wayne Fire Bureau and Police Department.
A large quantity of oil was stored in the building and due to the fire and the water used to extinguish the fire, the oil leaked across Hamburg Turnpike and into the Ramapo River. Because of this, Passaic County Haz-Mat, Passaic County Health Department and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection responded to the scene and closed a portion of the Hamburg Turnpike until 7:45am the following morning.
The oil that had leaked into the Ramapo River and some smaller tributaries nearby had reached as far as the Pequannock River, so HazMat members placed containment booms to absorb the oil and prevent further contamination.
All fire units cleared the scene by Tuesday at 12:30AM.
Efforts by private contractors to make Hamburg Turnpike safe for travel, due to the oil, continued through rush hour Tuesday morning, with the road opening again at 7:45am.
Wayne PD provided scene control and Wayne EMS stood by with Basic Life-Saving scene support and also provided Rehab monitoring and services for the working firefighters.
Wayne utilized fifteen pieces of firefighting apparatus at the scene in addition to a Ladder Truck from Pompton Lakes and also an Engine from Bloomingdale. The Bloomingdale crew provided a crew for FAST backup support of firefighting operations.
Standing by with mutual aid for Wayne Fire Stations were: Pompton Lakes, Totowa, Little Falls, Lincoln Park, Haledon and Pequannock. No injuries were reported and total firefighting manpower at the scene was approximately 55 firefighters.
Approximately 500,000 gallons of water was utilized to extinguish the fire.