Fire reignites at Georgia plant, prompting evacuation order
A fire at a resin and rosin manufacturer in Brunswick, Georgia, reignited Saturday afternoon, sending a massive plume of smoke over the coastal region and prompting evacuations, officials said.
Mayor Cosby Johnson said a shelter-in-place order was in effect for the city. During an evening news conference, the mayor said he declared a local state of emergency because of the fire.
The Glynn County Board of Commissioners also ordered people within a half-mile of the Pinova plant, which says it makes specialty rosin and polyterpene resin, to evacuate.
Officials cited wind direction. They didn’t specify what outcomes were possible with exposure to the smoke.
The facility is roughly 70 miles north of Jacksonville, Florida.
The morning fire was said to have been contained, but it reignited around 3:10 p.m., according to Glynn County spokesperson Katie Baasen.
By evening, fire officials said the blaze’s growth had been contained again by the use of a foam firefighting agent.
“We’re going to continue those operations until the scene is completely controlled,” Laurence Cargile, assistant chief of the Brunswick Fire Department, said at the news conference.
No injuries were reported and the cause has not been determined.
Pinova said combustible dust that can result form its polyterpene resin, used in waterproofing and as an adhesive, should not be touched, ingested or inhaled, and that longterm exposure could lead to asthma.
Health officials say chemicals in epoxy resin can cause skin irritation and asthma. It’s not clear how burning them impacts their affects. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Before the fire had reignited, the board of commissioners said the state fire marshal and Environmental Protection Agency were on scene.
The Jacksonville Fire Department was taking a key role in the firefight, sending a helicopter and fixed-wing plane to drop liquid or retardant on the blaze, the board said in an early evening update.
But the battle by air is being hindered by low visibility created by the fire’s smoke.
Wendy Burnett, spokesperson for the Georgia Forestry Commission, said it sent a helicopter and two single-engine tankers — but those aircraft were grounded for now.
“We have made a couple of water drops, but due to thick smoke and concern for the safety of those on the ground, we have suspended drops at this time,” Burnett said.
On Tuesday, a plastic recycling facility in Richmond, Indiana went up in flames, spewing toxic chemicals into the air, officials said. The fire was extinguished Thursday.
In November, a fire at the Symrise chemical plant outside Brunswick prompted the evacuation of about 100 nearby homes because of concerns over smoke and potential explosions, The Associated Press reported.
Rania Soetirto and Maya Brown contributed.