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Fire still burning at Brentwood transfer station

Firefighters work at the scene of a stubborn

Firefighters work at the scene of a stubborn fire that remains active more than a day later at a recycling facility on Emjay Boulevard in Brentwood. (Oct. 23, 2013) Credit: Ed Betz

The huge gutted structure at a Brentwood solid waste transfer station was still smoking Wednesday evening as firefighters battled hot pockets in a building that more than 24 hours earlier had been ravaged by fire.

Brentwood Fire Department First Assistant Chief Bill Peterson said he expected the fire would burn for several more days.

"Fire suppression may be going on for days because of the amount of debris inside the structure," Peterson said around noon Wednesday. "It's continued to burn; there's so much debris in there."

Islip Town Public Safety Commissioner John Carney said town engineers Wednesday were evaluating the building's structural integrity and would know by the end of the day whether it needed to be demolished.

Brentwood Fire Department spokesman Robert Leonard said officials are also considering demolishing the building to better attack the fire.

"They're trying to keep the fire in check within the building, but they can't get in and get the debris out because the fire is so deeply embedded in the debris," Leonard said.

The cause of the fire still hasn't been determined, Carney said, adding that there have been multiple fires and town code violations at the privately owned solid waste transfer facility over the years.

Carney said the state Department of Environmental Conservation is working with the town to investigate those violations.

According to town assessment rolls, the facility -- a 3.5-acre site -- is operated by Island Rail Terminal Ltd; the land is owned by Bellerina Realty Holding Llc, 151 Daly Rd., East Northport.

Since 2007, 11 appearance tickets have been issued to this property for violations that include unsafe structure, insufficient fire suppression system and illegal outdoor storage, according to town records.

Prior to Island Rail Terminal Ltd., the station operator was Emjay Environmental Recycling Ltd.

Only one of those appearance tickets was issued to the current operator, a town spokeswoman said: In November 2012 the property was sited for having an unsafe structure.

A firefighter and at least two civilians were injured in the stubborn blaze, which generated response from the volunteers of least 30 departments, Suffolk County fire officials said. The injuries were not considered serious, authorities said, although the immediate conditions of the injured were not known.

Firefighters first responded at 2:18 a.m. Tuesday and found smoldering debris in a 300-by 300-foot building at 80 Emjay Blvd. Volunteers from at least nine fire departments -- Brentwood, East Brentwood, Bay Shore, Deer Park, West Islip, Islip, East Islip, North Babylon and Commack -- battled the blaze for the first 10 hours.

Authorities said that since then firefighters from at least 30 departments have been rotated through the site, dealing with flare-ups and hot pockets as they battle to extinguish every active fire location.

Heavy machinery has been used to pull apart piles of debris as responders searched for pockets of fire, officials said.

At least nine ambulance companies have also been on site. The Suffolk County Water Authority also has been at the site to monitor water pressure and the county sent personnel from the Department of Public Works, officials said.

With John Valenti

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified the structure as a recycling facility.

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