The fire has been burning for over 12 hours, but is no longer spreading, officials said Friday afternoon.
“There has been a fire wall put up in resisting the spread of the fire, and we’re confident that we’re going to hold it where it is at the moment,” said Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage.
There will be a fire watch through the weekend, but the investigation into what started the fire cannot start until it is out.
Watch: Fire continues burning over 18 hours after it started
Flames engulfed the massive warehouse complex at the Elizabeth Industrial Park on Trumbull Street at around 5:30 a.m. Friday and spread quickly.
“You could see a lot of the smoke and just plumes of it coming out,” said Madison Fearon. “I am from right across the river, and we could see it from my house.”
“Big pillar of smoke, and it’s just, flames were just crazy,” said Asim Battice, who works nearby.
The complex is along the city’s waterfront near the Mills at Jersey Gardens mall and Newark Liberty International Airport.
“I know this is a manufacturing area, this is industrial. This is not right, this is dangerous,” said Crystal Beverly.
Port Authority officials said the smoke did not interfere with any flights.
Officials said no one was inside the building when the fire started. A passerby spotted the flames and made the first 911 call.
More than 100 firefighters responded. The FDNY sent two marine units to assist.
“Biggest concern was were they going to get it under control,” Battice.
Neighbors had concerns about the air quality amid the plumes of dark gray smoke.
“I’m worried about my home, my safety because, you know, health issues,” said Crystal Beverly.
“We’re going to be here for many hours today, if not days, fighting this fire,” said Bollwage. “This fire is going to burn out from the outside, there’s no way that we can get firefighters inside the building.”
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is monitoring the air quality in Elizabeth and areas downwind of the fire for contaminants.
So far, no elevated levels of concern were reported.
“There is no threat to the residents or the neighbors in the area,” said Bollwage.
At least three warehouses, dating back to the 1940s, were destroyed in the fire, Bollwage said. They were home to at least three businesses.
One firefighter suffered minor injuries after slipping and falling on ice.
School Number 52, which is just down the street from the burning warehouse, was closed for the day as a safety precaution because of the smoke and another school had a delayed opening. Both are expected to be open Monday.