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Michael’s tropical storm force winds whip Macon fires overnight

Michael gusts fan flames in Macon blaze

Macon-Bibb County firefighters battled strong winds early Thursday after the tractor of an 18 wheeler caught fire at Dub’s Big Rig Rehab at 2224 Barnes Road at about 1:15 a.m. on October 11, 2018.
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Macon-Bibb County firefighters battled strong winds early Thursday after the tractor of an 18 wheeler caught fire at Dub’s Big Rig Rehab at 2224 Barnes Road at about 1:15 a.m. on October 11, 2018.

Wind-whipped flames kept Macon-Bibb County firefighters busy as they battled fires early Thursday when Tropical Storm Michael was moving through Middle Georgia..

A wind gust of 53 mph was clocked at about 3 a.m., which is about 30 minutes before firefighters discovered an intense blaze at Rogers Accounting at 5681 Hawkinsville Road, about 3 miles from the weather station at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport.

“There was a lot of fire when we first got here and gusts in the 20-mph range helped fan it a little bit,” Macon-Bibb County Fire Chief Marvin Riggins said.

Motorists traveling on Ga. 247 detoured around fire hoses for more than three hours as crews extinguished the flames.

“It burned through the roof,” Macon-Bibb fire investigator Lt. Ben Gleaton said.

Firefighters were leaving another fire that broke out at about 1:15 a.m. at Dub’s Big Rig Rehab at 2224 Barnes Road when they noticed the fire at the accounting office about 1,000 feet away.

The tractor from an 18-wheeler caught fire and the flames spread to other tractors. Four were destroyed and another suffered fire damage, Gleaton said.

The cause of both fires is under investigation, and at this point there does not appear to be a connection in spite of their proximity.

“They were not close enough for it to be an ember or anything like that,” Gleaton said.

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