State News

February 8, 2014

Large warehouse fire breaks out at Savannah port

Burning rubber from a large warehouse fire Saturday at the Port of Savannah sent up a towering column of black smoke that could be seen from miles away.

Firefighters were working to contain and extinguish the blaze that erupted at the port’s Ocean Terminal not far from downtown Savannah. The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately known, but all port workers were accounted for and unharmed.

“The warehouse is full of rubber, so it’s a rubber fire,” said Robert Morris, spokesman for the Georgia Ports Authority.

Thick, black smoke shrouded some streets west of downtown Savannah and slowed traffic on the Talmadge Bridge that spans the Savannah River to South Carolina, according to Savannah-Chatham County police.

June Kramarczyk of Bluffton, S.C., and her husband were traveling to Savannah when they saw the smoke plumes rising in the distance. They pulled over once they reached the river to get a better look.

“It’s covering the whole sky in front of us, almost as if there was a volcano going off,” Kramarczyk said. “We could see the smoke from 15 miles away. My husband said, ‘That’s got to be a huge fire.”’

Morris said smoke could be seen from Tybee Island, about 18 miles east of the port terminal. He said raw rubber used in manufacturing was fueling the blaze.

The Port of Savannah is the nation’s fourth-busiest seaport for containerized cargo. The Ocean Terminal, which covers 200 acres, handles farm equipment and other heavy machinery as well as automobiles and bulk goods such as wood products and steel.

 

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