Blast at refinery hurts 28

Doctors Hospital initiated its disaster reaction plan Thursday night, offering the services of its Joseph M. Still Burn Center and flying one of its burn surgeons to Savannah, Ga., for those injured in a late-night sugar refinery explosion.

"Our disaster plan is in action," said Beth Frits, a center spokeswoman, adding that as of 9:30 p.m., she knew of 10 critical patients being flown Thursday night to the burn center.

"We just don't know how many more we'll be getting," she said.

The Savannah Morning News reported Thursday night that 28 people had been injured in the explosion and fire at the Dixie Crystal Brands sugar refinery near Savannah. No fatalities had been reported.

Ms. Frits said all four of the center's burn surgeons had been alerted, one of which -- Dr. Fred Mullins -- flew from Augusta to Savannah about 9:15 p.m. along with three of his physician assistants to help at the scene of the accident and at a nearby hospital.

"They can better help assess the burn injuries there and help with that triage situation," she said. "We will treat the most critical."

Ms. Frits said the burn center has 59 beds dedicated to victims, but they have treated as many as 75 patients in the past by using other parts of the hospital.

"We will do all we can to accommodate those critical," she said. "It's so sad. My body has chills to think about how many people are injured by this."

Reach Staff Writer Preston Sparks at (706) 863-3338 or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com.