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Electrical fire ignites at Georgia-Pacific's Brunswick Cellulose

GEORGIA (From news reports) -- A fire at Georgia Pacific's Brunswick Cellulose facility paused production at the mill Thursday and injured one employee.

Glynn County firefighters responded to the mill at around 9:30 a.m. when they received a call about an electrical fire at the facility, a statement from Glynn County said. County Fire Chief Vincent DiCristofalo said the fire was under control and isolated as of 11 a.m. That is when Georgia Power was working with plant officials to shut down electrical service to the part of the mill where the fire occurred so firefighters and Georgia Pacific's Plant Emergency Organization could extinguish the fire completely, he said.

DiCristofalo said one employee was transported to the hospital to be treated for heat-related injuries.

C.J. Drake, public affairs manager for Georgia-Pacific, said in an email Thursday afternoon that the fire was extinguished and that its cause was under investigation.

Production at the mill paused on Thursday in response to the fire, Drake said. He also said the fire was limited to small area of the facility and that no hazardous materials or chemicals were burned.

The fire posed no threat to the surrounding neighborhoods or the community at large, Drake said.

"We are deeply grateful to our PEO members, the Glynn County Fire Department, emergency medical personnel and all first responders who addressed the fire and related issues," Drake said in a statement.

He said the safety of the community is important to Georgia Pacific.

"The health and safety of our employees, community and the environment are of paramount importance," Drake said. "There were no serious or critical injuries but we continue to monitor the situation."

Although it was smaller than others and contained more quickly, Thursday's fire marks the fourth at a Glynn County industrial operation since May 2021. Logistec, which operates out of the Georgia Ports Authority's East River Terminal, ignited May 2, 2021, when wood pellets stored in large A-framed hangars combusted. It was at least the third such fire at the facility since 2012.

Symrise, a fragrance producer located on Colonel's Island, caught fire in November 2022, prompting shelter-in-place orders for areas of Southern Glynn County where the smoke plume was blowing.

Pinova, a wood resin producer in the heart of the city of Brunswick, caught fire April 15, sending a huge plume of black smoke over the marshes and St. Simons Island, leading to shelter-in-place orders there and in the neighborhoods around the facility. An evacuation order was issued at one point during the firefight for a one-mile radius around the plant. Eventually a firefighting foam was used via airdrop and ground application to extinguish the fire. Pinova announced its permanent closure in June due to damages from the fire.

The Pinova fire prompted the company, prior to its closing announcement, to donate $15,000 to Glynn County to help purchase industrial firefighting equipment.

That donation was matched by Georgia Pacific on July 20 in an effort to help the Glynn County Fire Department purchase a dual-tote foam trailer to strengthen the department's ability to fight large industrial fires. Thursday's fire did not require a foam application.

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