LAKEWOOD — Fire damaged at least six trailers and the building at a UPS facility late Wednesday afternoon.

The blaze at the Vassar Avenue industrial park burned hundreds of packages. The fire was brought under control by 8 p.m., according to police.

Explosions could be heard while black smoke billowed from the roof.

People attending an event at the Fountain Ballroom banquet facility next to the UPS facility were temporarily unable to leave while firefighters initially responded to the fire, according to The Lakewood Scoop.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Ocean County Fire Marshal's Office.

UPS said the facility was evacuated and workers will return when they can safely do so.

Fire at the UPS facility in Lakewood 6/28/23
Fire at the UPS facility in Lakewood 6/28/23 (Jersey Coast Emergency News) (The Lakewood Scoop)

MORE: UPS contract talks hit road bumps

The UPS employee union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, warned Wednesday that a strike could begin August 1 and demanded that the company make its "last, best, and final offer" no later than Friday. Contract negotiations have been going on since April and union members authorized a strike.

Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien said in a statement the two sides met until late Tuesday night and specifically discussed health and welfare and pension benefits for members. After early progress O'Brien said management "moved the goalposts" and withheld additional benefits. The union walked away from the bargaining table but resumed negotiations Wednesday.

“The largest single-employer strike in American history now appears inevitable,” O’Brien said in a statement. “Executives at UPS, some of whom get tens of millions of dollars a year, do not care about the hundreds of thousands of American workers who make this company run. They don’t care about our members’ families. UPS doesn’t want to pay up."

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