South Georgia firefighters train for ethanol fires - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia firefighters train for ethanol fires

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Firefighters from across Middle and South Georgia came to Albany Monday to learn how to battle ethanol fires. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of the bio-fuel are shipped out of the ethanol plant in Mitchell County daily, and Firefighters need special training and equipment to extinguish ethanol if it catches fire.

GEMA organized this first training session on ethanol fires in Georgia. 60 firefighters from Milledgeville to Valdosta are attending the two day training.

They trained on railroad cars and tanker trucks that haul the liquid bio-fuel, made mostly from corn. Ethanol burns almost invisibly, without flames or smoke.  Water will not extinguish it.

One of the GEMA instruction team, Tommy Johnson of Akron Brass Company, said "It mixes in with your water, or anything else that's there. So if you don't put a protective barrier on it, then it just reignites itself because of the vapors."

Firefighters have to put a special foam on top of burning ethanol to extinguish it. The First United Ethanol plant in Mitchell County produces 290,000 gallons of ethanol a day, most of which is trucked across South Georgia. That's why GEMA says it is vital that firefighters now how to handle the fire hazard in case of a spill.


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