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Brush Fire Forces Closure of Nuclear Plant, Evacuation of Senior Citizens

May 4, 1992

LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) _ A brush fire blackened 5,000 acres, forcing the closure of a nuclear power plant and evacuation of a senior citizens development before it was contained Sunday.

Tom Tansley, a state fire warden, said the blaze began in a dry wooded area and quickly spread across the Garden State Parkway toward the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station.

More than 10 miles of northbound and southbound lanes of the parkway were closed and the nearby Pheasant Run senior citizen development was evacuated, Tansley said.

Firefighters surrounded the blaze late Sunday and the highway was reopened. Later, a section of the northbound side was closed again because of downed power lines.

Oyster Creek spokesman Keith Bromery said the plant wasn’t endangered because the flames didn’t advance past its 100-yard-wide water intake canal.

Almost 200 residents of Pheasant Run gathered at the recreation center of a nearby church. Residents who needed medication left in their homes were taken to a hospital.

Hundreds of firefighters from the state Forest Service and 26 local companies battled the blaze, he said.

The cause wan’t immediately known, Tansley said.

Elsewhere in the region, about 50 miles east of Philadelphia, 10 brush fires burned Sunday in a four-county area.

A 1,000-acre fire in Woodland Township destroyed a house and trailer.

At Fort Dix, five fire companies battled several fires that blackened at least 1,000 acres of firing range training areas. There were no injuries and no buildings were endangered, said Army Sgt. Brant Webb.

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