Savannah Fire responds to natural gas fire at dentist office

Savannah Fire responds to natural gas fire at dentist office

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The flow of natural gas fueling a fire at a dentist’s office on Forest Park Road has been sealed off. The office sits off of Stephenson Avenue.

Firefighters responded to the office around 6 p.m. on Saturday night to find the building on fire.

Crews used high-pressure hoses to prevent the fire from spreading. They discovered the source of the fire was a natural gas leak. Firefighters held the flames back until the gas company could stem the leak.

Dentist Philip Friedman repeats the phone call that turned his world upside down Saturday afternoon.

“It was a policeman and they said you need to get down here quickly. Your office is on fire,” said Friedman.

Friedman was out of town with family, but quickly realized he needed to get back to Savannah.

“I could tell by how nervous, the trembling in her voice that it was going to be very bad,” he said.

But the local dental community is lending a helping hand.

“I need to take care of my patients and my staff and hopefully get everyone taken care of. We have friends that are covering for us. The dental community has been wonderful offering to cover our patients and all of the specialists and offering us whatever we need to do,” he said.

Savannah Fire has not released an official cause of the fire, but Friedman tells WTOC they believe it started outside of the building. There is an abandoned property that sits right behind the dental office. Friedman built this dental office from the ground up, but he says he’ll do it all over again for and with his patients and staff.

“I couldn’t ask for more with that. I just wish it hadn’t of happened at all, but we’ll be back,” he said.

Every other Saturday, this office is actually open. Luckily this past weekend it wasn't.

They have secured a secondary location where they can start seeing patients in a few weeks.

It was business as usual Saturday afternoon at a salon next door to the dentist office until one of the employees there told WTOC she started smelling smoke.

“I said I knew there was not a barbecue going on. So I stepped outside, and when I stepped outside I looked and saw the smoke coming out of the roof," said Michelle Ling.

Savannah Fire responds to natural gas fire at dentist office

Ling acted quickly, alerting the neighboring business in her building that there was a fire next door, and asking another person to call 911.

“The thing about it, we’re so close that the flames could’ve jumped over and started a fire over here. So the police officers had us all move over there and they blocked off the roads and everything to make sure that we were safe," said Ling.

The building suffered extensive damage, though no injuries were reported by Savannah Fire Rescue.

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