Body found at site of massive fire at New Jersey waste facility

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Wednesday, May 11, 2022
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A body has been recovered after a massive five-alarm fire tore through a waste management facility in New Jersey on Tuesday. Eyewitness News reporter Anthony Johnson has the report.

ELIZABETH, New Jersey (WABC) -- A body was recovered Wednesday after a massive five-alarm fire tore through a waste management facility in New Jersey.

The fatality is believed to be a worker, as there was only one person unaccounted for, but his or her identity has not yet been released.

The daughter of that 70-year-old employee said she got word Tuesday that her father was missing, and she is still waiting for final confirmation.

She said her dad worked at the company more than 30 years and was planning to retire soon. Some in the neighborhood say the victim was a hard working family man.

The medical examiner is on the scene, and more information will be released when it becomes available.

Video from News Copter 7 showed black smoke billowing from the Waste Management Julia Street Transfer Station located at 864 Julia Street in Elizabeth after the fire broke out around 2 p.m.

Officials said that the fire may have started from machinery inside the building, and while tons of trash stubbornly burned, the private garbage carting company doesn't handle any hazardous materials.

The smoke spewed into the surrounding community due to gusty winds, and as a result, residents of nearby houses were asked to evacuate.

They were allowed to return home around 7 a.m. Wednesday.

Fire crews were still pouring water inside the waste management building, which is a total loss.

The raging fire became a massive inferno, shedding so much smoke and heat it was impossible to get close to the building.

There were concerns about air quality, but officials say that is no longer a concern.

No other injuries were reported.

Julia Street was shut down for a large stretch between Division Street and Route 1.

There was no impact to operations at the nearby Newark Liberty International Airport, with winds pushing the smoke away from the area.

Officials contained the blaze, but firefighters were battling hotspots throughout the night.

A disaster action team from Red Cross New Jersey was also on the scene.

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