Georgia chemical plant catches fire, prompting evacuation of area

A fire at a chemical plant in Brunswick, Georgia prompted evacuations on Monday (Glynn County Sheriff's Office/Facebook)

A fire at a chemical plant in Brunswick, Georgia prompted evacuations on Monday (Glynn County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook)

A chemical plant in Georgia caught fire Monday morning, prompting the evacuation of nearby residents as the blaze burned.

The Brunswick, Georgia, factory fire began around 4 a.m. and forced evacuations in about 100 homes, the Associated Press reports.

Three explosions were reported after crews responded to the initial call from firefighters, the Glynn County government said in a statement.

Symrise, the German company that runs the factory, said in a statement that the factory produces fragrances for household products like perfumes and detergents. The company added that it did not believe the fire would create “additional health risks” for the community.

Glynn County government said the fire was burning from a chemical called pinene hydrogen peroxide. A statement from Symrise says the cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Eric Prosswimmer, a fire captain from Jacksonville, Fla., who was at the scene, told AP that a firefighter was injured and taken to hospital, but was in stable condition. He added that three metal tanks filled with chemicals had exploded due to the heat from the flames.

Glynn County said local fire crews were joined by firefighters from Jacksonville and Savannah, Georgia. The factory is located halfway between the two cities along the Georgian coast.

The communities of Satilla Shores and Royal Oaks were evacuated, the sheriff’s office posted on Facebook, and in the afternoon residents were barred from returning home. In neighboring Camden County, the communities of Hickory Bluff, Dover Bluff, Waverly, Lampadoshia and parts of Sanctuary Bluff have been told to shelter in place.

All homes within a one-mile (1.6 kilometer) radius have been evacuated, and homes within a 3-mile (4.8 km) radius have been ordered to shelter in place, AP reports.

The Glynn County government reported two schools were sheltered in place on Monday. Children who live in Royal Oaks and Santilla and take the bus to school will need to be picked up by their parents, they added, as buses will not be allowed in restricted areas.

Camden County said some residents reported an odor in the air, which they confirmed was the result of terpenes from the chemical plant. Although it can aggravate certain health conditions like asthma, the smell is not toxic, the county added.

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