Only 12 Percent of Imperial Sugar Damaged - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Only 12 Percent of Imperial Sugar Damaged

PORT WENTWORTH, GA (WTOC) -  Port Wentworth is still mourning. You can see it on every corner, on every face of the faithful who stopped by Our Lady of the Lourdes.  While they meet the spiritual need, others organize blood drives to meet the physical need.

Everyone is just trying to do something, but that's still not making the pain go away.

Kimberly Cook has lived next door to Imperial Sugar for 41 years and says her world has changed, "At my house it's quiet. That's not right. I'm supposed to be hearing the plant, smelling the brown sugar and the silence is deafening.   It's deafening.   It's a constant reminder of what's not going on over there and it's not a good reminder. It makes me sad."

Sad because in a split second it seemed as though this community's backbone broke. Cook says Dixie Crystal is what created the community.  That when they came so did everyone else and Port Wentworth grew into what it is today.

It's sad to see the smoke still billowing but there's hope in sight.  Imperial Sugar CEO John Sheptor announced today that only 12 percent of the facility is damaged, which means it may not be broken, only bruised.

The news of this traveled quickly and everyone had one thing to say: they were shocked.

Loraine Lanier of Port Wentworth said, "I'm surprised with everything we've seen. The damage it's very surprising, it's good news even though we lost so many people."

"I'm surprised because I've seen the aerial photos on TV," said Cook.

Sometimes pictures can be deceiving and in this case Imperial Sugar may be back in business again.

Now the only question is: can the community bounce back?  Well Lanier and Cook and think so.

"I think so hopefully, but it's going to take some time," said Lanier.

"This community can hold itself up while this is going on and then come back up," said Cook.

Once the fire is out Imperial Sugar will be able to assess just how much damage there actually is.

Reported by: Christy Hutchings, chutchings@wtoc.com

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