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Three-Alarm Blaze Knocked Down at Old Soap Factory in Teaneck

Former soap factory heavily damaged in Monday afternoon fire

Scores of firefighters battled a smoky three-alarm blaze at a former Teaneck soap factory sparked as a work crew was inside the complex Monday afternoon, officials said.

Emergency crews were called around 3 p.m. and had the flames under control in about 40 minutes, Teaneck Fire Chief Anthony Verley said at the scene. There were no reports of any injuries.

Firefighters arrived to find heavy fire and thick smoke pouring from the facility, Verley said. Faced with only one access road, firefighters had trouble reaching the burning building. Fire hoses were pulled from blocks away and through Herrick Park next-door.

Workers inside the old factory when the flames broke out were believed to be cutting metal, according to several officials. The exact nature of the work was not immediately clear.

Kearny-based Holuba Realty owns the property, according to tax records. The firm proposed building a 196-unit condo and townhouse complex on the seven-acre industrial site in 2006, but ultimately scrapped the plan several years ago amid protests from nearby residents.

The property again drew controversy when Holuba proposed doubling the complex’s size and expanding chemical production there. Known as the “old soap factory” the site was once home to Holuba-run Stanson Chemicals, which made household cleaners.

Holuba Realty representatives could not be immediately reached for comment Monday.

Englewood, Hackensack, Ridgefield Park, Bogota and Bergenfield fire departments assisted Teaneck firefighters in tacking the blaze, Verley said. A Bergen County Hazardous Materials team was also called in to monitor air quality at the building. 

The fire sent columns of smoke into the air and could be seen across the area. Flames also scorched a small section of the park and left the ground littered with ash.

Emergency services cleared the scene by late Monday and area roads were reopened. The cause of the fire remained under investigation. 

 

 

Updated 4:50 p.m. 

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Diane Schwarz November 27, 2012 at 03:33 PM
That's what I was thinking!
DMAB6395 November 27, 2012 at 09:28 PM
I find it very interesting myself. They've been trying to do something with the building all these years, now it goes on fire. I like the the one line where they say, "Workers inside the old factory when the flames broke out were believed to be cutting metal, according to several officials. The exact nature of the work was not immediately clear." How could you not know what kind of work you were doing?
JamesTS November 27, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Amazing photo and videos.. My nephew saw the smoke from Rt 4 and was asking me about it lastnight. Good work to all FDs involved.
Tee Smyth November 27, 2012 at 10:31 PM
I'm thinking that the Patch doesn't know what kind of metal work they were doing, not the workers. Perhaps the Patch hasn't spoken directly with the workers.
DMAB6395 November 28, 2012 at 05:00 AM
Tee Smyth the article said according to officials.

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