Brunswick firefighters were kept busy Monday night by a huge smoldering pile of wood pellets in a warehouse at Logistec Stevedoring, a biofuel company based at the south end of Newcastle Street in the Port of Brunswick, Fire Chief Randy Mobley said.
The fire department was called to the warehouse about 10 p.m., after wood pellets in the center of the pile “spontaneously combusted,” Mobley said.
The pellets were arranged inside the warehouse in a long pile on one side of the building. Pellets in the middle became heated and started smoldering, Mobley said. The Brunswick Fire Department sent its ladder truck, two fire engines, a command vehicle and some 10 firefighters to scene.
The smoldering occurred in the company’s 139,000-square-foot aluminum and steel warehouse, built after two 50,000-square-foot wood-framed warehouses on the site burned to the ground during a massive fire in July of 2015. Logistec workers used front end loaders to move pellets from the area of the pile where the smoldering occurred, as firefighters hosed them down, Mobley said.
Women from Glynn County Volunteer Firefighters Inc. arrived to provide water and other refreshments to the firefighters throughout. “They were a big help,” Mobley said.
The situation was under control by 7 a.m. Tuesday, he said. “There was no damage to the building, it was just smoldering pellets,” Mobley said. “It was all contained to the pellets, where it just started burning deep down inside. It’s about the size of a football field in there. We kept water on it as they moved it with the front end loaders.”
The Montreal-based company buys the pellets locally and ships them to Europe for use as biofuel in power plants.
Spontaneous combustion can occur when the pellets heat up after sitting for long periods of time. This last occurred at Logistec in April of 2017 when the European market was oversupplied with the pellets. The incident kept Brunswick firefighters on scene for several days, as the piles continued to smolder.
A city fire engine and two firefighters remained on the scene throughout the day Tuesday, as isolated smoldering continued, Mobley said. Mobley did not anticipate a necessity to keep the firefighters on scene overnight.
“I’m hoping we can bring them in tonight,” Mobley said. “Its not unsafe, we just have to keep on it and monitor it. It’s pretty much aggravating, for us and them.”