Newark, NJ — deadlyIt was still burning Friday, almost two days after it started, and officials expect it to last at least two more days.
Around 8 a.m., loud noises signaled cars and more black smoke began to fill the skyOnce again they were on fire.
Multiple agencies and environmental experts are on scene to ensure first responders, port workers and nearby residents are safe.
FiremanThey died in the inferno on Wednesday when a fire first broke out on the ship and consumed several levels. Five other firefighters were injured and sources told CBS New York that other first responders suffered from smoke inhalation.
Commanders at the scene said the fire was still very challenging.
“Access is difficult. The heat is intense. It’s a steel box, so it’s a very complex situation and you need a good plan to put firefighters on board to put out this fire. It’s very hot, so a lot of the burning decks and burning cars right now are inaccessible,” said Tanzan Marine. Co project manager Gordon Lorenson said.
See: US Coast Guard Friday Update
They are spraying water from the ship to the boat. But officials are worried the excess water could tip the ship, so extra crews are pumping out water and drilling holes to allow the water to drain out.
“When officially fighting a fire, safety is our number one priority, and this requires careful coordination of our firefighters and fire suppression mechanisms,” said Capt. Cheeta Merchant, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey coordinator.
During regular monitoring of water and air quality, ship representatives said they found sulfur dioxide readings above actionable levels overnight.
“They were found aft of the ship. We took steps to move the crew as needed, and then we brought the crew back into the area when those positions were safe,” said Tom Wicker of Gallagher Marine Systems.
Port Newark cargo ship fire
A task force is also monitoring environmental impacts.
“There is still no oil coming off the vessel. There were some unconfirmed reports of a sheen in the area yesterday morning, but we have verified with the drone and water level assessment that no sheen was noted,” Wicker said.
Firefighters are trained several times a year in such situations, the port authority said. Newark has two ships in port.
“We don’t have a fire department within the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey,” said director Bethan Roone. “But as this investigation unfolds, everything is on the table for consideration.
Several agencies are investigating the cause, but they can’t begin until it’s safe to board. That’s not possible until the fire is out and the ship cools down.
The Grimaldi Group, the ship’s operator, said the Grande Costa d’Avorio caught fire on Wednesday while cars, vans and trucks were being loaded. None of the vehicles are electric vehicles, they said.