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Quick work by firefighters averts disaster

First Posted: 6:28 am - June 30th, 2015

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City of Thomaston firefighters are being praised by both the manager of Animal Health Sciences and Thomaston Mayor Hays Arnold for their quick work during a dangerous chemical blow off last week at the Animal Health Sciences plant.

Thomaston firefighters responded to a fire alarm last Wednesday at the plant, located off of Highway 36. The call was made due to a 55-gallon drum of chemicals used in the manufacturing process that had overheated. Plant staff said a vent on the drum was not open, causing the drum to overheat. Pressure inside the drum then caused the vent to blow off, releasing smoke and chemical particles into the air. The plant was evacuated and the fire department called.

Firefighters donned air masks and packs, and provided plant leaders with spare air masks and plants before they entered the building. Water could not be used because of the chemical content of the drum, so firefighters used fire extinguishers to cool down the drum enough for it to be moved outside, where it could be cooled down further. No serious injuries were reported, but one plant worker was taken by EMS to Upson Regional to be examined.

Plant Manager Tommy Joiner praised the fire department for its speedy and effective response.

In addition to the city firefighters responding to the alarm, volunteer firefighters from Rock Hill and Lincoln Park also responded. Also coming to the scene was Thomaston Mayor Hays Arnold, who praised the work of city firefighters.

“We are all thankful for the response of our firefighters,” the mayor said. “We are proud to have one of the best equipped and well-trained fire departments of any city our size.”

Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.

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