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Fire in southeast Macon creates large smoke cloud

Video: Large structural fire off Riggins Mill Road

Officials are on the scene of a large structural fire on Riggins Mill Road in east Macon.
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Officials are on the scene of a large structural fire on Riggins Mill Road in east Macon.

Thick, black clouds of smoke rising from a burning warehouse in south east Macon could be see from miles away Wednesday.

The Macon-Bibb County Fire Department was called just before noon to the scene of Go Green Bioproducts recycling plant off Riggins Mill Road.

"When the first companies arrived, the fire kind of had consumed the far eastern end of the warehouse," Riggins said. "We're battling very high winds coming out of the southwest, and they just really kind of fanned the fire and pushed it into the other adjacent structures there."

The roof of the warehouse, which is estimated to be about 200,000 square feet, collapsed in the blaze. The fire damaged three adjacent buildings, Riggins said.

No one was injured, and employees made it out of the building safely.

State offices of the Georgia Forestry Commission, adjacent to the plant, were evacuated about 2 p.m., said Wendy Burnett, spokeswoman for the commission.

Winds reached speeds near 40 mph, and the smell of burning plastic wafted through the air. Riggins said he rode in a Georgia State Patrol helicopter to get an aerial view of the fire.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, but Riggins said he suspects it was accidental because employees of the plant were trying to extinguish the fire when firefighters arrived.

The fire was still burning as of late Wednesday evening, but Riggins said it was under control.

"There are just a lot of hot spots where the roof is falling in, and stuff is burning underneath things where we can't get to right now," Riggins said. "It's a really old structure ... It used to be an old candy company."

Riggins said he expected most of the fire to be extinguished by Thursday morning.

Go Green Bioproducts moved into the facility in June 2012, and the company is a subsidiary of South Carolina-based TMD Technologies Group. The plant processes any liquids -- including soda, sugary drinks and water -- collected from beverage containers. The sugar eventually is made into higher-end ethanol products.

To contact writer Laura Corley, call 744-4334 or follow her on Twitter@Lauraecor.

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