County fire officials informed the Courier Wednesday evening that the two fires reported at the DB Smith Riceboro Paper Mill (formerly known as Interstate Paper) Tuesday night were minor in scale, and were determined to have been contained to the plant’s electrical system.
“The fire started in one area initially and then a second part of the cable tray carrying wire caught fire; so, yes, two small fires,” County Fire Chief Brian Darby said in an email.
Darby explained the fire began in a cable tray, where wires are routed through channeling.
“The fire was investigated and was deemed an electrical fire, not weather related or suspicious in anyway,” he said.
The chief said that the county’s emergency services response was not overtaxed, due to firefighting crews also providing mutual aid to a fire that engulfed Trinity Missionary Baptist Temple Church in Hinesville late Tuesday afternoon. That fire was caused by a lightning strike, according to the Hinesville Fire Department.
“This call (to the paper mill) was dispatched to the City of Riceboro Volunteer Fire Department as well as Liberty County Fire Services,” Darby said, adding that both were dispatched at the same time. Dispatching two fire stations is the normal protocol for fires, he said.
Darby said the units were dispatched at about 6:54 p.m. Tuesday.
According to Captain Chad Relaford with the Riceboro Volunteer Fire Department, a unit from Midway also assisted. The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and EMS also provided support, Relaford said. There were no injuries to workers or firefighters. Relaford was not sure of the extent of damages to the paper mill.