Dietz & Watson warehouse fire contained, still smoldering

DELANCO, N.J. - September 1, 2013

Officials say the building, the size of six football fields, on the 1000 block of Cooperstown Road will likely continue to smolder for days.

The flames were brought under control around 5:40 p.m. Monday, more than 24 hours after the blaze first began.

On Monday night, smoke continued to hover and make its way through area neighborhoods.

"Yeah, it's really affecting the air quality and it's been going back and forth," said Cheryl Gosick.

"I'm a runner and it's causing me to breath heavy. I'm hoping it isn't anything toxic," said Marioni Mourey.

Fire officials say the smoke is not toxic but most of it is stemming from cardboard and charcoal mixed with cold air from industrial freezers inside the warehouse.

"On this side here, there is a large freezer box. As it's pulling apart and burning apart, we're trying to get water in there. That cold air is a -5 degree freezer box and the cold air is drifting outside," said Deputy Chief Bob Hubler, Delanco Fire Department.

At the height of the 11-alarm fire, there were over 100 firefighters battling the blaze.

The roof of the warehouse is covered by energized solar panels which prevented firefighters from getting on top of the building to put the flames out more quickly.

"Our biggest challenge, aside from the water, was that the bulk of the fire was dead center of the building, in the roof. That was our challenge, trying to hit from the top," said Chief Holyt.

Louis Eni, CEO for Dietz & Watson says despite the loss of the warehouse, he is glad that none of their 130 employees there were injured.

Eni also said that none of them will lose their jobs but will be relocated to facilities in Philadelphia and Baltimore.

"Everybody's not only gonna have a job they'll be working many, many hours. The steps are to ramp up production, fill our immediate needs and start building inventory" said Eni.

The company says most of its operation will shift to the Philadelphia and Baltimore plants.

Meanwhile fire officials have not yet determined the cause for the blaze.

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