Smarr mill on fire, danger of sawdust explosion

The largest mill at Southern Forest Industries is ablaze of U.S. 41 in Smarr.

Lt. Shane Cook, public information officer for Monroe County Emergency Services, was set up in a command post outside the gate due to the threat of a sawdust explosion.

Cook said firefighters got the call at about 2:40 p.m. and about 50 firefighters are trying to get the blaze under control.

"They're planning for the worst-case scenario," Cook said.

Crews evacuated dozens of employess from the company but a neighboring wooden palette company was still operating but sent all non-essential workers home, Cook said.

"The sawdust could ignite and explode," Cook said. "I'm probably going to be here all night because once it's out they have to investigate."

No one was initially hurt in the fire and firefighters are rotating shifts in the intense heat.

Crews from Monroe County, Forsyth, Macon-Bibb County, The Georgia Public Safety Training Center and volunteers from Smarr, Bolingbroke and High Falls are on the scene.