A view from the Talmadge Bridge. (Source: Zach White)
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -
The 165th Airlift Wing, Georgia Air National Guard has been called in to help support efforts to fight the warehouse fire at the Georgia Ports Authority's Ocean Terminal No. 3 on West River Street. The 165th Airlight Wing is sending four firefighters and a P-19 Airport Rescue firefighting vehicle along with a foam trailer. The P-19 has the capabilities of shooting foam to fight the fire.
The massive blaze started at the 250,000 square foot building erupted at about 11:30 a.m. West Bay Street between West Lathrop and Fahm streets is closed. It has also slowed traffic on the Talmadge Bridge.
Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Dept.'s Julian Miller said that those who are north of Bay Street between Lathrop and Fahm Street if they cannot get out of the smoke, then they should leave the area. No mandatory evacuation has been issued.
Savannah Fire and Emergency Services spokesman Mark Keller has recommended that people who live downtown or are in hotels downtown to not stay outside and to stay indoors if possible.
Fire officials tell WTOC that 5,600 tons bulk rubber from Indonesia is on fire. It was imported and bound for tire plants in the Southeast U.S. No firefighters are inside the warehouse fighting the fire.
Officials said everyone was able to evacuate the structure. A Georgia Ports Authority representative said no Georgia Ports Authority workers were injured.
Keller the fire has been contained to the north half of the warehouse and that they are trying to keep it from the southern half of the warehouse. Fire crews are worried about the integrity of the building and they're working to keep it from spreading to the building adjacent to it.
Savannah Fire is using industrial equipment to pump water from the Savannah River to help put out the fire.
Drivers are being asked to avoid the area. Drivers are also being asked to not slow down on the Talmadge Bridge and to keep moving. If the winds shift, the bridge may have to be closed.
The Savannah College of Art and Design's emergency notification system: SCAD has closed Fahm, Alexander, Adler and Hamilton halls. Students, faculty and staff will be notified when the buildings reopen.
SCAD issued another alert: Savannah Fire advises to shelter in place/shut off HVACs if at Turner, Turner Annex, Boundary Village, Weston and Dyson.
The American Red Cross has been activated to provide support to firefighters and anyone who may have to be evacuated.