Refinery Blast: First Response - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Refinery Blast: First Response

Memorial University Medical Center Memorial University Medical Center
LifeStar lifts off. LifeStar lifts off.
Triage operations at Memorial University Medical Center. Triage operations at Memorial University Medical Center.

PORT WENTWORTH, GA (WTOC) - LifeStar made several trips to and from the site of Thursday night's explosion at the Imperial Sugar refinery, and ambulances streamed to the hospital.

Memorial University Medical Center is asking concerned family members not to come to the emergency room. Family can report to the Hoskins Center across from the emergency room.

The Red Cross also responded to the scene. Joyce Baker was the first emergency responder on the scene and she spoke with us via phone tonight.

"We were at the Port Wentowrth Courthouse and we stepped outside after a meeting and we heard the explosion and we saw the sparks and the flames shoot up," Baker explained. "The ground shook, my husband was with me and we raced over here. He's a Port Wentworth police officer. I got my trauma bag out and by the time we got out there, there were already 13 people coming out with third degree burns and it was like walking into hell."

Ambulances from as far away from Liberty County responded to the scene to help take wounded to the hospital.

Reports came in that residents as far away Garden City and Levy, South Carolina, heard and in some cases felt the explosion.

A number of roads are blocked off in the area and police are asking to avoid Highways 25, 21 and DeRenne Avenue if possible so emergency personnel can get through.

Firefighters of the 165th Airlift Wing, Georgia Air National Guard, joined the rescue operations. The 165th normally provides emergency response needs at Savannah International Airport, sent a 2,000 gallon tanker truck, an air compressor trailer to refill oxygen tanks, and moved a pumper truck to cover Savannah Fire Station 13 and the airport.  In addition, 3 firefighters responded to the call.

Officials asked people in the Port Wentworth area to conserve water as firefighters worked the blaze.

Contact the WTOC News team

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