Fire wrecks plastics factory on 2nd St.

A Harrison factory that makes plastic and plaster moldings for ceramics dealers was consumed by a three-alarm fire this past Sunday.

An estimated 65 firefighters from Harrison, Kearny, East Newark, North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue, Lyndhurst and Secaucus responded to the fire at Plaque Art Creations on S. Second St. between Sussex St. and Bergen Ave.

No one was working in the one-story building with a 2-story garage attached when the alarm of fire came in at about 3 p.m. but, according to Harrison Fire Director Harold Stahl, “they have ovens in there [heating the products] that run 24/7, whether they’re open or not.”

As of Monday, Stahl said that Fire Official George Kondek was in the process of completing an inspection of the building to determine how the fire started.

It took about four and a half hours to bring the fire under control, Stahl said, but fire units were kept at the scene overnight as a precaution, he added.

Residents of two 2-family homes at 102 and 104 Bergen were evacuated and power in the area was shut off during the fire as a precaution and the fire did not extend to those properties but as of Monday, the occupants were still waiting for clearance to return, Stahl said.

“We appreciate their patience,” he said.

No injuries to firefighters or civilians were reported, although Stahl said that fire personnel had a close call. “Fire Prevention alerted us that there were some 30 propane tanks in the building and, at one point, three let loose, releasing gas,” he said. “But we attacked it – ‘surround it and ground it’ as we say – and, fortunately, nothing bad happened.”

Due to the intensity of the fire, which released a lot of smoke, firefighters maintained continuous application of water from aerial ladder trucks to keep the blaze in check, Stahl said.

“At the peak of the fire, we were probably spraying 4,000 to 5,000 gallons a minute onto the building,” he said.

Stahl credited Harrison Fire Capt. John Dwyer, the incident commander at the scene, for handling the situation well.

Town tax records list the property owners as Harrison Eagle LLP of New York. The factory has been at that site for many years.

– Ron Leir 

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