COLUMBIA COUNTY, N.Y. -- A major fire involving hazardous materials prompted a state of emergency in two Capital Region counties. Officials say the fire started at an industrial park in the town of Ghent late Wednesday night.
Because the fire involves sodium, diesel fuel, propane and mineral oil, officials declared a state of emergency in both Rensselaer and Columbia counties. People living within 15 miles of the fire are being told to remain indoors, close windows and shut off air conditioners.
At least seven different fire companies and rescue squads were called to help with the fire. In the middle of the morning, officials decided to pull those first responders out after several large explosions in the building.
"I don't know what it was but something obviously got hot enough and ignited and it was probably an 800 to 1,000 foot fireball," said Stephen McGrath, Stuyvesant Volunteer Fire Department.
"Nobody knew what was going to happen and at that point the building was pretty much destroyed and command made the right decision to pull everyone out," said Chief Steven Montie, Stuyvesant Volunteer Fire Department.
Columbia County's Office of Emergency Management brought in a foam truck from the National Guard to try to smother the fire.
The next major concern is testing the surrounding air quality.