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Some homes evacuated after Hamilton, N.J. warehouse fire

Warehouse fire in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, evacuates some homes
Warehouse fire in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, evacuates some homes 04:06

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) -- A Mercer County neighborhood was evacuated Thursday morning after a warehouse fire.

The fire broke out around 12:30 a.m. at the warehouse on Whitehead Road. Video from the scene showed flames were spilling out from windows.

Smoke was billowing above the buildings after 6 a.m.

A fire broke out at a warehouse on Whitehead Road in Hamilton Township Thursday morning. CBS News Philadelphia

Officials said the building is the former Goodall Rubber building, now operated by a company called Hakim International Trading.

The fire reached four alarms at its peak, with 26 fire units from 14 towns responding.

Chuck Hector, who works at a building across the road, said the fire sparked explosions and jets of flame were shooting up into the air.

"The flames went literally, 100 feet up in the air," Hector said. "There were large embers that were just going up and going on the roofs."  

Some embers landed on his business' roof, but he said the damage was minor.

Hakim International Trading buys out liquidated items, then stores them and resells them, Hector said.

The building was "packed stem to stern with thousands of different items," he added.  

Later in the morning, firefighters were focusing on hot spots and making sure the water tower above wasn't damaged.

Usually with fires such as this there are air quality concerns - officials typically warn residents to close all windows and make sure doors are locked to keep out any smoke.

The state Department of Environmental Protection conducted air quality tests and found no concerns, a township spokesperson said in a statement.

Hamilton Township Deputy Fire Chief John Retalis said about six homes were evacuated because smoke was blowing their way. The evacuations were to remain in effect for the rest of the day.

One firefighter was hospitalized with minor injuries after they slipped and fell.

Firefighters were still putting out hot spots later Thursday morning. CBS News Philadelphia
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