A Brunswick firefighter was taken to the local hospital Sunday morning with carbon monoxide poison, sustained while battling a warehouse fire at Logistec Stevedoring Inc. on Bay Street, city Fire Chief Randy Mobley said.
The firefighter was treated and released from Southeast Georgia Health System’s Brunswick campus hospital, Mobley said. Additionally, paramedics treated five Logistec employees on the scene for carbon monoxide poisoning, Mobley said.
Brunswick firefighters responded in force at around 8:15 a.m. Sunday to Logistec to a report of a warehouse fire, the result of spontaneous combustion from within piles of wood pellets stored at the company at the Port of Brunswick.
All available firefighters from both Brunswick fire stations responded to the fire, and numerous off-duty city firefighters also were called to join the firefight. County firefighters stood watch over the two city fire stations during the brunt of the firefight, Mobley said.
Firefighters had the warehouse fire under control by around noon Sunday but remained on the scene throughout the day to combat hotspots within the large piles of wood pellets, Mobley said. A contingent of firefighters would most likely remain on the scene overnight Sunday and possibly throughout the day Monday, Mobley said.
“It’s the same old thing,” a frustrated Mobley told The News around 1:20 p.m. Sunday. “We’ve about got it under control now, but we’ll be here all day again. It’s just smoldering.”
The fire occurred within the newer 139,000-square-foot warehouse that was completed in 2016, built to replace a pair of older, wood-frame and asphalt roof warehouses that were destroyed during a massive fire in July 2015. The aluminum and steel warehouse includes a state-of-the-art sprinkler system and other enhanced safety features.
Based in Montreal, Logistec buys wood pellets locally and ships them to the United Kingdom and Europe to be used a biofuel in power plants.
On occasion, the heat generated by the standing pellets creates spontaneous combustion fires. This is the second wood-pellet fire to occur in the new building and at least the third wood pellet fire at Logistec since the enormous 2015 fire, which blazed on the Brunswick River waterfront for 12 hours and drew more than 70 firefighters from throughout the region. Spontaneous combustion of wood pellets caused a fire within the warehouse in September of 2018 and a similar fire occurred in a smaller warehouse at Logistec in April of 2017.
Smoke buildup from Sunday’s fire created carbon monoxide issues, Mobley said. “It was just a lot of smoke and a lot of carbon monoxide,” he said.
Brunswick firefighters remained on the scene through the day Sunday as Logistec crews with bulldozers dug into the pile of wood chips to release the inner heat and reach the smoldering spots inside.
“We just gotta keep water on it as they move the pellets around,” Mobley said. “It just takes a long, long time.”