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TIFT CO., GA (WALB) -
A produce shed in Tift County is a total loss after a huge fire that burned for hours.
It was a difficult fire to fight.
Fifteen units from the Tifton-Tift County Fire Department were in action for more than four hours but in the end there was little that they could do to save the 22, 000 square foot shed on Isabella-Nashville Road.
"We had an alarm at approximately 1:37 PM," said Chief Michael Coleman of the Tifton-Tift County Fire Department.
The battle to contain the fire lasted for much of the afternoon and was so intense that the firefighters had to call for backup.
Chief Coleman said, "we called our Public Works Director in the county, Mr. Jason Jordan, which he promptly delivered and with some of their equipment they were able to tear some of the siding away."
Luckily, the recent rains proved to be a blessing for the firefighters battling the blaze with plenty of water for the pumps, but as nature gives, she often takes away and the winds hampered their efforts - thanks to an open door.
"There was a lot of wind that day if you'll recall and the warehouse was open on both ends. So it actually attributed to the flare up of the fire, it actually acted like a wind tunnel," said Chief Coleman.
The intensity of the fire was obvious if you look at what the warehouse looks like today. It was so hot, that the steel frame on the shed softened and it partially collapsed.
"My best guess is that it was in excess of 1000 degrees Fahrenheit," said Chief Coleman.
The boxes that would be holding cabbage in a normal season. Lined with wax, Tuesday, they helped to fuel the fire too.
"Those were flat stacked, you know, not broken down to be used yet and there was quite a few of them," said Chief Coleman.
Even though the fire department was on the scene quickly, unfortunately, fires like the one at this shed often lead to losses like you see here.
Chief Coleman said, "usually they're used for packing and storage operations. So oftentimes the fuel load is comprised of material that may be compacted."
But those losses could have been so much worse.
We talked to the people in charge of the Jones Farm and they said that they felt lucky that no one was hurt and no produce was damaged, even if the shed was a total loss.
Firefighters say they still have not determined the cause of that fire.