Late this afternoon, city firefighters responded to a fire alarm at the Animal Health and Sciences Plant off of Barnesville Highway. Fire Captain Renee Harris, Lieutenant Jeremy Walker, and Fire Chief Eddie Lifsey also responded to the scene. The call occurred when a 55 gallon drum of chemicals utilized in the manufacturing process overheated. Plant staff noted to city workers that a vent was not opened on the drum causing the drum to overheat. The pressure caused the drum’s vent to blow off releasing smoke and chemical particles into the air. City firefighters utilized their air masks and packs in response to the call and provided plant leaders with spare air masks and packs. City firefighters used fire extinguishers to cool down the 55 gallon drum. Captain Harris advised that water could not be used because of the chemical content of the drum. Chief Lifsey said fire fighters moved the drum to the outdoors to cool it down. The situation was resolved and the oversight of the tank was turned over to the plant staff for observation. There is no confirmed injury; however, a plant worker was taken by EMS to the hospital to be checked out.
Thomaston Mayor Hays Arnold heard about the call and responded to the scene. Animal Health and Sciences Plant Manager Tommy Joiner thanked the mayor for the speedy and effective response of the city fire department. Mayor Arnold stated, “We are pleased with the quick and effective response of our city firefighters. We are proud to have one of the best equipped and well trained fire departments of any city our size.”
The City of Thomaston requires each firefighter to average 31 training hours a month, to perform pre-fire inspections of all commercial buildings semi-annually (every six months), and inspect and test each city fire hydrant semi-annually. Fire Chief Lifsey and Captain Harris reported that 10 city firefighters worked the scene with another reporting on a standby basis. Volunteer firefighters primarily from Rock Hill and Lincoln Park Volunteer Fire Departments also responded to the scene.