City welding shop moderately damaged by fire

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

A quick response by personnel of Griffin Fire-Rescue prevented a major fire at the city of Griffin’s welding and tire shop from becoming a catastrophic environmental incident.
The fire was first reported at approximately 10 p.m. Tuesday night, and Battalion Chief Todd Wheeler oversaw the response of firefighters from two of the city’s three stations – Numbers 1 and 3.
According to GFR Chief Tommy Jones, the structure, located on North Hill Street, was heavily-involved upon their arrival.
“We had very heavy smoke and heavy flames on arrival. The fire apparently started somewhere near a work bench in the welding shop area,” Jones said. “Their fast response and aggressive interior firefighting resulted in minimal damage compared to what could have been.”
He said because of his personnel’s swift and aggressive actions, the fire was contained to the welding shop portion of the building.
“If it had made it to the tire shop, it would have been a tremendous fire that would have required EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) involvement,” Jones said. “They (firefighters) made a great response. Not a puff of smoke made it into the tire area.”
He explained that had the fire reached the quantity of tires stored in that location, the result would have been not only toxic fumes, but also hazardous runoff caused by fire involving petroleum-based products.
Jones said the fire is not believed to have been deliberate.
“It wasn’t suspicious. We had to force entry, so we’re not suspecting any suspicious activities at this time,” he said, adding that personnel remained on the scene for several hours. “You have to wait and make sure there’s no rekindle.”
It is uncertain if the shop is repairable or will need to be replaced.
“The welding shop sustained moderate damage – there was a good bit of damage to machinery – and there were some twisted I-beams, so it may be that the structural damage will require the shop to be replaced,” Jones said.

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