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Workers remove burning barrel from Lyndhurst chemical plant, avert ‘major incident’

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

EXCLUSIVE REPORT: Quick-moving workers removed a 30-gallon barrel of an unknown substance that caught fire late last night outside a Lyndhurst chemical company that produces polyurethane, preventing what could have been a toxic fire, authorities said.

“A major incident was averted,” Haggerty emphasized. “A worker happened to be in a remote area of the building and observed the drum on a pallet burning. The employees utilized a fork lift and removed it from inside the building.”

“The fire was knocked down quickly, but we had no idea what was burning,” Lyndhurst Fire Chief Paul Haggerty Jr. told CLIFFVIEW PILOT just after midnight.

A Bergen County Hazardous Materials crew deemed the container safe and ordered Polyurethane Specialties Co. to contract with a vendor to have the susbstancd removed first thing this morning, he said.

The barrel blaze in the barrel ignited just before 11:45 p.m. at the factory in the 600 block of Schuyler Avenue, Haggerty said.

The site was the scene of an evacuation of neighborhood homes — and the treatment of several people — after an acid was released into the air.

Pipes used to transfer the adipic acid powder failed, releasing the substance through roof ducts.

Polyurethane Specialties was established in Lyndhurst in 1983, records show.

The company makes what are known as polyurethane “intermediates,” including polyester polyols, polyurethane prepolymers and specialty polyurethane coatings. Products that use these include spandex fibers, adhesives, roller blade wheels, photocopiers and coatings used for blimps.

The state Department of Environmental Protection was expected to be notified of last night’s incident.

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