BAINBRIDGE, GA (WALB) - The fire from a chemical explosion at a storage facility has been put out after burning for hours.
Crews later spent time testing the air quality to ensure that it is safe after it was extinguished around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Bainbridge Public safety officials say that the Liquid Transfer Chemical tank overheated while two workers were installing a gauge. One of the workers had stepped away to get a tool, but the worker who remained died in the explosion.
Officials had not cleared residents to return to their homes Wednesday night.
Evacuation orders were lifted after several hours following a chemical explosion at a holding facility.
For a brief period of time, families were allowed to gather some belongings from their home before leaving the area again, as it was still not considered safe to remain.
Authorities estimated that between 12 and 15 homes were evacuated. Public Safety officers were dispatched to assist residents with evacuation efforts.
The Salvation Army was called in to help families affected. They are allowing them to stay at the Howard Johnson motel on Tallahassee Hwy. in Bainbridge. Officials also reported the Salvation Army was providing meals for the affected families.
The explosion happened at Liquid Transfer Terminals, a facility near the Flint River around 11:15 a.m.
Bainbridge Public Safety confirmed one person died after a one million gallon tank of sodium hydrosulfide ignited.
As a precaution, evacuation orders were issued for everyone within a half mile radius of the facility.
"The chemical that's in the smoke is something to climb if it starts to rain. That'll bring the chemicals back down and it's very irritable for breathing and [can] get on your skin and cause burns," said Sergeant W. Tracy Tabb with Georgia State Patrol.
Crews said they were working to keep the surrounding tanks cool as the fire continued to burn.
Decatur County schools were also placed on lockdown as a precaution.
Bainbridge Community Affairs Spokesperson Julie Harris said that officials were concerned that if firefighters are not able to put the fire out completely in time, the air quality could become harmful.
Smoke from the fire was seen from 15 miles away.