2 injured after chemical fire at New Jersey factory

The fire broke out at the Diamond Chemical Company, a manufacturer of industrial cleaning products, in East Rutherford.
A possible chlorine leak at Diamond Chemical Co. in East Rutherford, New Jersey has prompted authorities to order evacuations of the immediate surrounding area.
Authorities said the air was clean and clear after a chemical fire broke out at the Diamond Chemical Company in New Jersey on Thursday. WNBC

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By Doha Madani

Two people were injured Thursday after a chemical fire broke out at a factory in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The incident occurred at the Diamond Chemical Company, a manufacturer of industrial cleaning products, prompting a response from fire, police and hazmat officials. At least one of the chemicals involved in the fire was chlorine, authorities said.

East Rutherford Fire Chief David Alberta said that two fires had broken out in the facility, one caused by a chemical reaction and another caused by an overheated machine.

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"Everybody cleared out of the building, the machines were left on," Alberta said. "We were trying to shut down the power as soon as possible and unfortunately another issue came about."

Tom Longo, officer of environmental health for Bergen County, said that the chemicals being used in the building were water reactive."When they’re exposed to water they would create heat, that heat left unchecked caused the fiber board containers to catch fire," he said.

Rutherford police issued a shelter-in-place order as they investigated, but that was later lifted as hazmat crews found normal air readings.

Bergen County Executive James Tedesco said that at least half a dozen hazmat responders arrived at the scene to monitor the air quality.

"The good news here is there is no detection of anything volatile and the air is clear and clean," he said. "The reaction has stopped inside and very shortly, we hope to turn it over to the owners so they can bring in their own private company and start the process of getting the facility back into operation."

East Rutherford, which is about 10 miles west of Midtown Manhattan, has a population of about 8,900 people.

Diamond Chemical is a private company founded in 1930 that employs around 300 people. The New Jersey location sits on 12 acres and includes a 150,000-square-foot complex that houses its corporate offices, laboratories and manufacturing, according to the company website.