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Staten Island Warehouse Fire Sends Thick Smoke Through Neighborhood: 'It Was Like Nighttime'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Firefighters battled a massive fire at a warehouse on Staten Island on Wednesday afternoon.

The business is located at 60 Davidson St. near the Goethals Bridge in the Mariners Harbor section of the borough.

Officials said the blaze broke out at around 2:30 p.m. and grew to five alarms.

"It was like 2 o'clock in the afternoon. It looked like it was 8 o'clock at night," one person said.

Neighbors said they first smelled smoke before seeing an orange glow that quickly engulfed the warehouse.

"The smoke was billowing so dark, it was like nighttime. Then you begin to see the embers coming down the block," Gwen Robinson told CBS2's Aundrea Cline-Thomas.

The wind sent burning embers flying in the direction of the homes across the street. The heat of the flames made windows and doors too hot to touch.

"We attached the garden hose and started spraying down the car and the lawn," Susan Pickering said.

"We were checking our house and our neighbor's house to make sure there was nothing smoldering from the ash, because a lot of ash did come over our houses," another neighbor said.

At its height, 200 firefighters and EMS personnel responded.

Fire officials believe a wood working shop, oil storage and recycling facilities occupied the space. Employees were working at the time, but were able to make it out safely.

Three first responders were injured, but not seriously, officials said.

"That building should've been gone a long time ago," a neighbor said.

That was common refrain from locals, who referenced another fire at the same location years ago.

"It's not structurally stable, anyway," Robinson said.

Crews were monitoring the building on Wednesday night, fearing that the structure would collapse.

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