GLYNN COUNTY GLYNN (WTOC) – The Glynn Sheriff’s Office is on the scene of a fire at the Simrice Chemical Plant on Colonel Island.
The factory was evacuated and multiple explosions were reported. Glynn County Fire officials confirm that the chemical they are dealing with is pinene hydrogen peroxide. This chemical is used for things like flavoring in mineral oils.
Firefighters cannot safely enter the building. It is currently unknown what caused the explosion inside the facility. There was an initial explosion and two subsequent explosions.
Firefighters had to pull back as the 1.3 million gallon water supply at the scene ran out.
Firefighters say they don’t need to rush and try to put out the fire. It’s not like a house fire where they have to save people. They are calculated and keep everyone safe while working on fire.
Savannah Fire Battalion Chief Wayne Ifill says Glynn County crews found a valve that had leaked chemicals and are trying to isolate it before the fire starts again, which is common.
The sheriff’s office evacuated the neighborhoods of Hickory Bluff, Sanctuary Cove, Satilla Sohir and Royal Oaks. Two schools are located in the shelter.
The sheriff’s office has called a Code Red and a fire department is on the scene. A firefighter was reported with minor injuries, according to a news release on the Glynn County Commission’s Facebook page. The firefighter was in stable condition as of late Monday morning. Civilians were not injured.
Also according to the commissioner’s page, the call came in at 3:56 a.m. A one-mile evacuation radius was set up and a 3-mile shelter in place. They say the wind shift is a concern.
Helping Glynn County includes crews from Camden County, Nahunta, Brunswick, Jekyll Island, Jacksonville, Fla. and Savannah Fire. Also present are personnel from the Glynn County Emergency Management, Department of Natural Resources, as well as officers from the Glynn County Police Department, Glynn County Sheriff’s Office and Camden County Sheriff’s Office.
Savannah Fire is sending an engine and a special operations chief. Savannah Fire is the regional HAZMAT team. The SFD has the personnel and equipment to deal with these types of industrial fires, especially after learning the lessons from the sugar refinery fire a few years ago. Savannah Fire says they are on standby and will not be called unless the fire starts growing again.
A Hazmat team from Jacksonville is also on the scene.
Evacuees in the Satilla Shores or Royal Oaks evacuation zones can go to Ballard Gymnasium for shelter.
In total, according to the authorities, around 100 households have been relocated. Crews are continuing to assess where the chemical vapor is coming from and more evacuations may be needed. The weather service is on the scene helping them determine wind direction and impact.
Officials held a press conference Monday morning to provide an update, which you can watch below:
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