Peanut fire destroys warehouse - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Peanut fire destroys warehouse

April 9, 2004

Blakely- You didn't have to see flames to know the Birdsong Peanut Company warehouse was burning hot Friday night.

Blakely firefighters were heading into their second day of trying to put out the fire burning deep in a mountain of peanuts.

"That's what's mostly burning now," said Eric Wimberly of the Blakely Fire Department. "The peanut oil and the peanuts. Once we get that under control and get that contained, we should have it pretty much out."

The fire started at one end of the warehouse, which suffered the most damage. The burning peanuts and collapsing building made this a hard blaze to fight.

"All of them are dangerous," Wimberly said. "But with a warehouse is mostly dangerous because of the walls collapsing on us. So we have to be careful of that."

At the other end of the building, Birdsong workers, who were called in on their Good Friday off day, shoveled the nuts and loaded them into trucks. The faster they got the peanuts out of there, the faster the fire could be extinguished.

The peanuts are part of last fall's harvest, which was a really good peanut crop. They've would have been used in food products like Hershey bars and Snickers. But not after the fire.

Peanuts that can't be eaten aren't as profitable for the company, but what the workers can save will be shipped off, crushed into oil and sold.

So the trucks will keep running until every salvageable peanut is saved, so all of this year's profit doesn't go up in flames.

posted at 11:08 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com

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