Warehouse at South Georgia peanut plant catches fire, water donations needed

Warehouse at South Georgia peanut plant catches fire, water donations needed.png
Posted at 3:25 PM, Sep 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-28 15:25:00-04

WORTH CO., GA (WALB) - A fire that broke out at a peanut plant in Worth County Friday morning could take several days to extinguish, according to officials.

A warehouse at Birdsong Peanuts, 107 Findley Rd, caught fire early Friday morning. There was a heavy smoke presence coming from inside the building, according to officials at the scene.

The half-mile evacuation radius was lifted around 3 p.m., according to the Worth County Sheriff’s Office.

How to help:

Water donations can be given following the Friday morning blaze. Law enforcement is asking for water donations to help those assisting with the fire.

Donations can be dropped off at 205 East Willingham Street in Sylvester.

The call of the fire came in at 5 a.m., according to Donald Whitaker, Worth County sheriff. The blaze started in the warehouse at the peanut plant, according to officials. The official cause of the fire has not been determined, Whitaker said.

Marci Errair, Worth County 911 director, said a fumigation process was underway because of aluminum phosphide tablets mixed with water, which caused toxic fumes. Aluminum phosphide is commonly used as a rodenticide.

Aluminum tablets inside the warehouse had the potential to put off toxic fumes, Whitaker said.

Extinguishing operations were set up on both sides of the warehouse, according to Tom Whittington, Worth County EMA director. Approximately 3,200 tons of peanuts were in the warehouse, Whittington said.

Whittington said the dry peanuts and aluminum tablets all contribute to possibly starting the fire but officials are still putting together the pieces.

Yellow smoke was reported from the side of the building, which officials said is from the tablets that were fumigated Thursday night.

The rain from Thursday night caused the aluminum pellets to heat up and started the heavy smoke from inside the building, according to Whittington.

Crews have knocked down the side wall of the building where the peanuts were located in an attempt to put out the fire on top of them, officials said.

Two excavators are working to remove the peanuts to reduce adding to the fire, according to the Worth County Fire Department.

Semi-trucks are hauling peanuts away, Worth fire officials said.

No injuries have been reported at this time and paramedics are still on scene, according to Whitaker.

Fire units from surrounding counties and areas, including Lee, Tift, Colquitt and Pleasant Grove, responded.

WALB’s Marilyn Parker and Grason Passmore are still on scene gathering more information.

This is a developing story and we will update as more information becomes available.

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