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Wednesday 24 September 2014

Massive port blaze is still burning

Published 08/02/2014 | 23:12

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Visitor to Savannah's historic River Street watch a blaze in a warehouse at the Georgia Ports Authority Ocean Terminal (AP)

Firefighters tackled a giant blaze fuelled by 5,600 tons of rubber at the Port of Savannah, where a towering column of black smoke could be seen from miles away.

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By late today, the fire department said its crews had contained the fire, but it could take a while for the flames to burn out inside a warehouse covering 226,000 square feet at the port's Ocean Terminal just west of central Savannah.

"It is contained," Savannah Fire and Emergency Services spokesman Mark Keller said late this afternoon, after the fire had burned for at least five hours.

"Will it burn all night? There's no telling. It's solid blocks of rubber that are burning."

The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but all port workers were accounted for and unharmed.

Savannah-Chatham County police closed some streets near the port terminal and smoke slowed traffic on the Talmadge Bridge that spans the Savannah River to South Carolina.

Police also asked a few hotels near the port terminal and the Savannah College of Art and Design, which has buildings in the area, to either evacuate or keep people inside.

Robert Morris, spokesman for the Georgia Ports Authority, said the burning area contained about 5,600 tons of imported raw rubber used in manufacturing.

The Port of Savannah is America's fourth-busiest seaport for containerised cargo.

AP

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