Crews clean up after semi hauling paper catches fire

Crews clean up after semi hauling paper catches fire

GUYTON, GA (WTOC) - Ga. Hwy 119 has reopened after firefighters spent several hours putting out a fire on a tractor trailer hauling paper products.

It happened on Ga. 119 right at the intersection of Ga. Hwy 17 in Guyton. 

Fire crews fought the fire from 4 a.m. until about 7:30 a.m. Guyton Police Chief Randy Alexander told WTOC that the fire on the 40-foot long trailer was very difficult to put out because the truck was carrying 40,000 pounds of paper products. He said that every 5 to 10 minutes the fire would start back up.

"We had to break the semi in half to get to the bottom with all the paper and we had to use a foam to cover everything to try and contain it," Alexander told WTOC.

Crews brought in a mini backhoe loader to remove some of the loads of paper. They split the trailer in half and sprayed the entire truck with a fire resistant foam.

"It is a hard fire to fight. You have 40,000 pounds of paper in a certain area and the only way to get to that fire is to go in there and dig it out. We have to get special equipment to move all that paper out to fight the fire, plus you have a trailer that is 40 feet long so that makes it difficult," said Alexander.

The semi driver said he was driving and saw some lights pop up on his dash. He then pulled over to inspect the truck and that is when he noticed flames.

"A tractor-trailer was heading out of town when he noticed all his lights came on in the truck, got concerned of what was happening and stopped to check it out. That is when he saw flames coming from the trailer. He immediately tried to put the fire out but he couldn't. He then noticed even more flames and went ahead and detached his trailer from the cab and proceeded to call 911." Alexander said.

The driver did make it out safely and no injuries were reported. The truck was from Georgia-Pacific out of Rincon.

"This is the first time we have encountered anything like this before," Alexander said.

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