An enormous fire Sunday engulfed several buildings in Bound Brook, N.J., sowing panic as tall plumes of smoke shot into the air.
No injuries were reported, but the fierce blaze set off multiple alarms, and Doppler radars detected a shift in weather patterns as a result of the smoke. Residents were also able to see the flames from a distance.
Bound Brook, a borough in Somerset County with a population of about 10,000 people, has been experiencing a building boom, with new downtown developments going up in the wake of the completion of a flood-control project. The low-lying area had been hit by heavy flooding in recent decades, including in 1999, when Hurricane Floyd left Main Street under 12 feet of water and sent about a third of the city’s residents to emergency shelters.
One building struck by the overnight fire was part of Meridia, a new luxury complex with residential units and retail space. The fire then spread to another residential complex under construction, as well as at least two houses and a store.
Bound Brook police warned on Facebook that the fire might spread farther because it was so difficult to contain.
The blaze caused NJ Transit to suspend service on the Raritan Valley Line in both directions, and the agency said on Twitter that train service could remain suspended during the morning commute. Bus service was being provided to the affected communities.
Another apartment fire in the community last summer injured a building superintendent and displaced more than a dozen tenants.