Updated 3:30 p.m. – New Info Underlined
A large chemical holding tank at a business located between Spring Creek Road and the Flint River exploded at around 11:20 a.m. Wednesday.
Initially, we were told a train car had exploded. However, we have since learned it was a holding tank located next to railroad tracks.
The holding tank that exploded was large enough to store up to 1 million gallons of liquid. According to City of Bainbridge officials, the tank contained sodium hydrosulfide, a chemical that can be dangerous for people to be exposed to. The liquid in the tank was a mixture of about 80 percent water, 20 percent sodium hydrosulfide. The fumes can be dangerous but Bainbridge Public Safety believes that risk is under control.
We are told the holding tank was on the property of a Liquid Transfer Terminals, 1025 Dickerson Street in West Bainbridge.
A Southwest Georgia man died as a result of the explosion, according to Decatur County Sheriff’s deputies. There are no further details on who the person was or what they were doing.
Decatur County Fire and Rescue, Bainbridge Public Safety, Decatur County EMS and the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office have responded to the explosion and fire.
Four Bainbridge Public Safety firefighters were also being treated for smoke inhalation at Memorial Hospital.
Firefighters from Grady, Miller and Seminole counties responded to provide relief for the firefighters who went to the scene initially. The director of the Thomas County Emergency Management Agency also responded.
Food and water has been taken to the emergency responders. However, if any businesses would like to donate food and water for the emergency responders, you can call Bainbridge Public Works at (229) 248-2014 or Bainbridge Public Safety at (229) 248-2038 to make arrangements.
Motiva Terminals also donated two 55-gallon drums of foam used to help contain fires; Decatur County Sheriff’s deputies helped transport the drums of foam from the terminals on Shotwell Street to the scene of the explosion in West Bainbridge. Sheriff Wiley Griffin said off-duty deputies were called in to help with traffic control and detouring traffic. Deputies also helped Public Safety respond to other 911 calls that came in during the hours after the fire, Sheriff Griffin said.
Vehicles are not being let into the area surrounding the fire, which continued to send black smoke in the air for almost two hours after the fire. Citizens are advised to avoid Spring Creek Road between Dothan Road and the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office. Detours have been set up along Dothan Road, Airport Road and John Sam Road to allow vehicle traffic to head south on US 253 South.
Georgia State troopers from posts in Colquitt, Americus, Albany and Cuthbert have been called in to help with traffic control around the area affected by the explosion, according to Marc Godby with the GSP Troop G office.
A neighborhood in West Bainbridge, including 5th Street and Church Street, was evacuated within about 30 minutes after the explosion, according to Bainbridge Public Safety. Officials are worried about the possibility of the smoke from the fire might contain fumes from the chemical explosion. A Georgia State Patrol helicopter came to survey the area around the explosion. Godby said the helicopter was flying over the fire, looking for “hot spots” where flames might not be visible on the ground. That way, those in the helicopter could tell firefighters on the ground where to spray foam to control the fire, Godby explained.