Explosions, fire force evacuations near Symrise Chemical Plant in Georgia

According to a Facebook post from the Glynn County Board of Commissioners, the incident was reported just before 4 a.m., and at least three neighborhoods have been told to evacuate.

BRUNSWICK, Ga. – Several neighborhoods were evacuated, and others were told to shelter in place after multiple explosions and a fire were reported at the Symrise Chemical Plant in Brunswick, Georgia, early Monday morning.

According to the Glynn County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, emergency crews received a report just before 4 a.m. about a fire at the chemical plant. When they arrived, an explosion occurred, and work began to determine the source of the fire and an attempt to extinguish it.

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More emergency resources were called to the scene to assist, and crews continued to work on extinguishing the blaze for about two hours.

"The chemical source of the fire is hydrogen peroxide pinene, which is manufactured in the plant," investigators said Monday afternoon. 

According to officials, there were a total of three explosions: One occurred when crews arrived at the scene, and two additional explosions occurred when they began to pull away from the chemical plant.

Emergency officials evacuated a one-mile radius of the chemical plant as a precaution, and residents were told to go to a shelter in Brunswick.

According to officials, two schools in the area were also told to shelter in place.

As of Monday afternoon, crews were still at the scene, but the fire has been contained and is expected to burn itself out.

A hazmat team from Jacksonville, Florida, also responded to the scene, and officials say one firefighter received minor injuries. 

After getting word of the explosions and fire at the Symrise Chemical Plant, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp instructed emergency management officials to direct all available state resources to assist local first responders.

"As the situation develops throughout the day, Marty and I are asking our fellow Georgians to join us in praying for this community and the brave first responders actively battling this fire," Kemp said in a statement. "Continue to consult local news and public safety officials for any updates."

Air quality and winds are a concern

"One of the things we look at when this happens is, of course, the air quality and winds when we're talking about a massive explosion," said FOX Weather meteorologist Jane Minar. "We have all of that smoke and debris that gets lofted in the air."

Minar said that air quality reports are still good so far, and there are calm winds across the area.

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As of Monday morning, winds in the area are light, between 5-10 mph.

Emergency officials and forecasters will continue to monitor the wind speed and direction to determine if there is any additional danger to people in the area.

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