MADISON, Ill. – Firefighters were on the scene of a warehouse fire in Madison, Illinois Wednesday for eight hours.

The emergency crews reported that one warehouse employee was injured and at least two buildings were destroyed.

“I thought it was a train fire or something at the mill,” said Henry Reed.

Reed who lives near the warehouse and said he could see smoke hundreds of feet in the air from his front porch. He said he had rushed over to the warehouse and saw flames in every direction. 

“This building was completely engulfed in flames. There was about a from my view here, at least a one-hundred-foot flame coming up out of one section of the roof,” said Reed. “And then within a half hour, it had spread to where the entire roof had fallen into the building.”

The firefighters responded to the five-alarm fire at the recycling warehouse around noon. Hundreds of first responders worked all day to put out the flames. 

“The materials inside the building that were being recycled, the structure itself, the actual building itself, and there were some cars parked near that structure that ended up catching on fire as well,” said Lt. Matt Coppin for the Metro West Fire Protection District.

The fire crews said they were unsure what hazardous materials were inside the building and people who lived in the area were asked to stay inside their homes. 

“The right thing to do at this point is to shelter in place. Turn off the air conditioner, close the door and just stay inside,” said Coppin. “It’s hard when you’re asking people to help you by doing nothing, but that’s really what we need people to do is just stay inside. It’s really the safest place for them to be right now.”

Reed said he was surprised to see the entire warehouse building burned to the ground. 

“The smoke that was originally coming out of there was so intense, and black like you couldn’t see the sun through it,” he said. “So, I just assumed they had some kind of a chemical in there.”