Fire destroys storage facility, warehouse - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Fire destroys storage facility, warehouse

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May 20, 2005

Cordele-- The warehouses on 9th Avenue in Cordele caught fire Thursday night. When firefighters arrived, flames engulfed Cordele Mini-Storage. The fire quickly spread to an adjacent building, a storage site for several vending companies including Little Debbie and Lance.

Firefighters battled the blaze for most of the night. Luckily, no one was hurt, but all of the goods inside were destroyed. Arson investigators are trying to determine what caused this costly blaze.

Some of the storage units were packed with people's personal belongings, things like fine china and computers. The other warehouse was used as distribution sites for vending companies, stocked full of coffee, candies, crackers. Nothing was saved.

Cordele firefighters continued to spray gallons of water on the smoldering warehouse Friday morning. "We're trying to get under that metal and get to those burning piles," said Major Randy Brown of the Cordele Fire Department. "This is the worst fire we've had this years."

The flames ripped through the old warehouse, the roof crumbled. "As the building collapsed, the metal closed in around the fire itself. It prevented the water from getting to the flames," said Brown.

Goods stored in the units, baseball cards, books and computers, fueled the fire. "I came outside and the fire was already huge," says Tonya Whisnant, who lives next door.

Whisnant panicked as the burning debris flew towards her house. "We were getting are computers out, he had put our dogs in the car. We were worried it was going to hit the house."

The flames didn't reached the house, but they did spread to an adjacent warehouse, packed with vending merchandise from Lance, Murray, Little Debbie, and Community Coffee. Community Coffee Salesman Eddie Rigsby lost thousands of dollars in coffee and equipment. "Probably $800 here, and $1,000 there. All of it is gone. I don't know what they're going to do."

Arson investigators brought in dogs to sniffed through the rubble. They're trying to figure out what caused the fire. But, so far there a few clues in the mystery of this costly fire.

Turton Investments owned Cordele Mini-Storage. Mr. Turton spent the day breaking the news about the fire to the twelve customers who rented units in the warehouse. He say most don't have insurance.

Major Randy Brown doesn't suspect arson, but the state arson unit was brought in because of the size of this fire.


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