I should have gone to bed, but the faint smell of something burning kept me awake. I checked the kitchen, basement, front hallway: nothing. Somewhere around twelve-thirty or a quarter to one, I noticed it was getting stronger, and now smelled distinctly like burning rubber. I checked the apartment again (nope), then opened the back kitchen window. A wave of burning-rubber smell came rolling in. I slammed the window shut and fastened the drapes together with clothespins.
The smell was even stronger when I stepped out onto the front porch, and there was a visible haze in the air. Clearly, something was on fire. But where? I couldn’t hear the fire trucks that should have been heading this way. I went back inside and tweeted:
Fire in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Don’t know where exactly, but the air is hazy with smoke, and smells of burning plastic.That belatedly prompted me to search Twitter for fire plus brooklyn. I got the story from a number of twitterers, most notably those posted by 1PolicePlaza (shown here in reverse chronological order):
# RT @TVITERVELT: Fire in jersey! Now u see where the smoke is coming from! http://yfrog.com/e4hd6. 19 minutes ago via txtI put out my own version:
# Infidel007 Huge Fire in NJ -5 Story Building Tire Recycle Plant-Now a 3rd Alarm-FDNY going to call to call. 29 minutes ago via TweetDeck
The location of the fire is in Jersey City on Linden Ave East about 1 hour ago via txt
Reports of FDNY Marine Co.1 operating at the fire in New Jersey. about 1 hour ago via txt
FDNY Engine 148 is rolling down 14th Av for a mile wrong way… about 1 hour ago via txt
There’s a fire in a tire junkyard factory in New Jersey. The smell in Brooklyn is probably coming from there. about 1 hour ago via txt
FDNY Brooklyn dispatcher advising there is a big fire in Jersay att. Smoke is coming from there. about 1 hour ago via txt
Big parts of Brooklyn South have an odor of smoke. FDNY is rolling all over to locate the source. about 1 hour ago via txt
Aha! It’s a burning tire junkyard in NJ, so smoky that FDNY’s gotten a dozen+ smoke reports from locations all over B’lyn.Then I hung a damp bath towel over the front of the living room AC, carefully tucking in the edges all round, and fastened the curtains in front of the bedroom AC. That smoke is nasty.
Stuart Bridgett has been taking photos from the top of the hill in Sunset Park, some blocks south of here, and posting them on Flickr. (Here’s where he is in relation to the fire). Here’s a photo of the fire itself, and one that’s just our neighborhood at night. In both cases, if you zoom in at the largest size, you can see how smoky the air is.
I’ve changed the title of this post after belatedly recalling that the last big tire fire we had along the Northeast Corridor was in Pennsylvania, not New Jersey. What I was remembering was that it took out a chunk of I-95, causing traffic backups that stretched so far north into New Jersey that they got reported on some NYC morning traffic reports. We have got to do something about these damned tires.