WRENS, Ga. — Firefighters from two stations responded Thursday to a small fire at Glit/Microtron in Wrens.
“The fire occurred in an old storage tank workers were using a welder ...,” said Jim Anderson, the 911/EMA director in Jefferson County.
Marc Peebles, the assistant fire chief of Wrens Fire Department, was on the fire, along with Tommy Brown, the district fire chief of Matthews Fire Department.
Peebles said contractors were taking down a storage tank at the manufacturing plant, which closed earlier this year.
“They were cutting it in half with an acetylene torch and set some residual product on fire,” he said. “I think most of what they used to store in that particular tank was some sort of paint.”
Peebles said firefighters could not go inside the tank at first.
“All it had was a small access hole in the top; so, we couldn’t go inside the tank to actually extinguish the fire completely,” he said.
“They had more work; so, we stayed on the scene while they finished their work. They were going to finish taking the tank down. While we were there, the fire flared back up after they got the top off. At that time, we were able to put it completely out,” Peebles said.
Peebles said he thought the contractors were cutting up the tank to scrap metal.
“Nobody was injured,” he said, adding he had not been certain what was in the tank or what had been stored in the tank.
“We were concerned about what might be in the smoke, any kind of byproducts from the smoke. There were people from the Glit Corporation there and they were able to tell us they hadn’t used that tank in years and what had been stored inside would not create a hazard,” Peebles said.
Two city officials were also on hand, he said.
“Larry Anderson with the city’s waste water treatment department was there to be sure that any hazards that might be coming from the product in that tank would not get into the ground water or the sewer system. Wayne Davis with public works was there to make sure we had plenty of water supply to fight the fire,” Peebles said.
Plant officials announced the plant closure to employees in January. The plant, which had employed around 120 people, had manufactured products used in the floor care industry.