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Firefighters Still On Scene Of Blaze At Passaic Warehouse 24 Hours Later

PASSAIC, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Twenty-four hours after it began, a massive chemical plant fire in Passaic is now contained, but with freezing conditions, firefighters still have plenty of work ahead.

Friday night, massive flames shot into the air, halting traffic on Route 21, and Saturday, parts of the complex are still smoldering as crews remain on the scene.

Hoses continue to douse the smoldering remains from ladders high above the Majestic Industries warehouse.

Fire Chief Patrick Trentacost says deep-seated fire trapped under the roof and flooring along with the single-digit temperatures are making it treacherous for firefighters.

"Everything is turning to ice. We're losing hydrants. Right behind me, they're working on a hydrant that's frozen. Our couplings are all frozen," he told CBS2's Thalía Perez.

Web Extra: Drone Force 2 Over Passaic Fire -- 

The fire started around 8:30 p.m. Friday inside a warehouse that manufactures gaming and hospitality furniture for casinos. It reached 11 alarms and quickly spread to Qualco Incorporated, nearby a chlorine plant.

Security guard Justin Johnson was working at the time and says he was checking the building's water pressure when he noticed smoke.

"From maybe like the stack tower right there. I don't know if that caused the fire or not, but I also see smoke coming from there, so I decided to come back to security office, called the fire department and get them down here. The alarm system went off," he said.

Officials warned massive evacuations would be necessary if the fire spread to the area of the chlorine plant that houses the highest concentration of chemicals. Fortunately, it was under control before that happened.

"We have the DEP. We have six set-ups for monitoring the air, and it's been good. The quality of the air has been getting better," Trentacost said.

READ MORE: Passaic Mayor Warns Of Possible Evacuations If Massive Fire Manages To Spread To Chlorine Reserves; Nearby Residents Urged To Keep Windows Closed

Officials say they will continue to monitor and put out those pockets of fire throughout the night. Cranes are expected to come in at some point and assist by moving rubble.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

About 18 firefighters have suffered minor injuries.

CBS2's Thalía Perez contributed to this report.

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