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Massive Fire Rages for More Than 16 Hours in Brooklyn Factory

By  Trevor Kapp and Wil Cruz | July 24, 2012 7:58am | Updated on July 24, 2012 10:48am

BROOKLYN — Hundreds of firefighters worked through the night to battle a raging fire that tore through a vacant food processing plant in Cypress Hills, officials said.

The massive blaze at Chloe Foods Corporation at 3301 Atlantic Avenue started just before 3:30 p.m. Monday — and smoldered in the two-story brick building 16 hours later, an FDNY spokesman said.

Approximately 230 firefighters from 54 units were brought in to fight the blaze, the spokesman said.

The fire was finally brought under control at 7:27 a.m. The cause of the fire is under investigation, said FDNY Deputy Chief John Papa.

"[There are] a few hot spots we can't get to at the moment, but eventually we'll be able to get to those spots," Papa said outside the factory Tuesday morning.

Seven firefighters suffered minor injuries, mainly due to heat exhaustion, he added. Four of the firefighters were treated at the scene and released and three others were transported to a local hospital.

The structure has nine interconnected buildings, stretching from Atlantic Avenue to Fulton Street between Crescent Street and Euclid Avenue, and has been vacant for at least two years, area workers said.

"We've had some extensive roof collapse in different parts of the building," Papa added. "Some parts are still intact. The fire's burning underneath the roof boards."

Since there are no occupants, firefighters have battled the blaze from the exterior, the spokesman said.

The massive fire, which reached seven alarms, had knocked out train service in the area through the night. The J train, which passes the nearby Crescent Street station, had been bypassing that stop in both directions because of "smoke conditions," according to the MTA's website.

Service at the station was restored about 9:30 a.m., officials said.

Papa, meanwhile, said investigators may be at the building through Wednesday.

"We'll try to reduce our presence here as the day goes on, but it's not inconceivable that we may have people here for at least a day or two," he said.

State Assemblyman Rafael Espinal said he and community leaders would try to turn the devastating fire into an economic opportunity.

"The building's been there. It hasn't been doing anything," Espinal said at the scene. "Maybe now that it's nonexistent, we can look into bringing housing, bringing jobs in to uplift the community."