EPA reports air quality is acceptable at Ocean Terminal - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Officials say air quality is acceptable, warehouse fire fully extinguished


The fire that started at approximately 11:20 a.m. on Saturday in Warehouse 3 at the Georgia Ports Authority's Ocean Terminal is now fully extinguished.

The Savannah Fire Department, with the assistance of the Garden City Fire Department, the Air National Guard, the Colonial Group and other emergency responders worked collaboratively to contain and extinguish the bulk of the fire by 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning. As a result of the teamwork and a preventive fire wall built into the warehouse, the fire was contained to approximately 100,000 square feet of the warehouse. The area impacted by fire contained 1,800 tons of crude rubber.   

The Environmental Protection Agency deployed three air quality monitors within the terminal and surrounding neighborhoods and has reported that air quality in the area is acceptable. "We monitored the air quality throughout the night," said Terry Stilman, EPA's Federal On-Scene Coordinator in a press release. "The result of the air monitoring indicates that the levels found are well below health based standards." 

In addition, the US Coast Guard continues to oversee the deployment of booms in the river to ensure any discharge from the fire into the water is contained. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) is on the site and the GPA will work in collaboration with the EPD on issues related to the clean-up. 

"We would like to thank the rapid and professional response by the Savannah Fire Department and the many other emergency responders who assisted in extinguishing the fire," said Griff Lynch, GPA's Chief Operating Officer in a press release. "The collaborative work between many emergency and environmental agencies reduced the severity and impact of the fire. In particular, the efforts by Savannah Fire Chief Charles Middleton, Assistant Chief of Operations, Benjamin Morse, Special Operations Chief James Vickers and their teams are to be highly commended for their leadership efforts." 

As a result of a 2008 Port Security Grant, the Savannah and Garden City Fire Departments were able to deploy a special purpose marine fire fighting pump drawing 6,000 gallons of water per minute, thru 2.5 miles of hose. "The new fire pump made a world of difference in containing, controlling and suppressing the fire," said Savannah Fired Department Assistant Chief of Operations Benjamin Morse in a release.   

Port of Savannah's Ocean Terminal will resume operations Monday morning with normal gate activity. Operations at Savannah's container port, Garden City Terminal, were unaffected. 

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