The nine-alarm blaze at the 650,000- square-foot DCH Collision Center on Livingston Avenue is “declared out,” according to township Fire Chief Donald Salzmann, Sr., the on-scene fire commander since the fire first started at 2:30 a.m. on July 22.
Although the fire department is responding to minor flare-ups as they occur – including “a small restart late [Sunday] night that was quickly put out,” according to township Business Administrator Robert Lombard – environmental officials cleared residents of the Hearthwood condominium complex to return to their homes around 2 p.m. Sunday.
Lombard said that fire equipment will remain on scene in case of an incident.
He also said that a few apartment doors were fixed prior to Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack and council members Cathy Nicola, Carlo Socio and Ralph Andrews welcoming back residents, each of whom received cleaning products and information.
“Most residents are in without any complaints,” Lombard said. “We are pleased all the residents are back home.”
Officials from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Middlesex County Health Department will continue to monitor the site and surrounding areas for air and water quality concerns.
– Kayla Marsh contributed to this story.