JERSEY CITY, N.J. (PIX11) — John Romano’s home away from home burned to the ground Tuesday afternoon as a massive seven-alarm fire tore through Reliable Paper Recycling in Jersey City.

“It was a very windy day and it just took off. And within the next half-hour, the fire went down to the light rail building. It went all the way down to the tracks. It was pretty bad,” said Romano.

Billows of smoke could be seen pouring from the city’s skyline. Video from the AIR11 chopper showed firefighters dousing water on several areas of the facility that had gone up in flames.

The warmer weather, low humidity, and breezy winds in New Jersey on Tuesday posed an increased risk of fires that can quickly spread. The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag warning for much of the tri-state area through at least 7 p.m.

“A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and dry fuels will create a significantly elevated fire growth potential,” the weather service said in a weather advisory.

Jersey City Office of Emergency Management Director Greg Kierce said the fire was one of the largest they had seen in years.

“In my 40-plus years, we’ve only had one and that was back in the 80s. It’s highly unusual to get a fire to that extent. We got calls from our counterparts over in NYC about black smoke,” said Kierce.

“A lot of people got hurt today – not physically, just in the whole scheme of things. It’s heartbreaking. This has been my home for a long time,” Romano said.

The fire also affected evening rush hour commuters on the roads and rails.

Part of the New Jersey Turnpike was temporarily closed and drivers were diverted away from the fire. Service on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail was also impacted but has since resumed.