Originally created 09/22/05

Cause of fire still is studied

Fire officials said Wednesday that it would be at least a day, if not longer, before they will know what started a massive fire at the warehouse of an Augusta wood salvaging business.

Lt. G.B. Hannan, a fire investigator with the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department, said Wednesday afternoon that firefighters were still working "hot spots" at Christian Millworks, located off Molly Pond Road near Gordon Highway.

More than 30 firefighters responded to the blaze, which broke out at about 2 a.m. Tuesday, and billowed smoke that could be seen and smelled from more than a mile away. By midmorning, the fire had been reduced to a smoldering heap.

Fire temperatures at one point exceeded 2,000 degrees, Lt. Hannan said.

"It's dangerous to go into certain parts ... there was a tremendous amount of fuel," he said.

The business uses reclaimed wood to create doors, cabinets, flooring and other items.

Lt. Hannan said his office is preparing to interview employees, vendors and anyone who might have witnessed the fire start.

He said in order to find the fire's origin point, heavy machinery will be needed to clear debris in the warehouse from the collapsed roof and metal girders.

Reach Jeremy Craig at (706) 823-3409 or jeremy.craig@augustachronicle.com.

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