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Another Factory Explosion Rocks Small-Town Community - Evacuations Issued as Smoke Rises Over Neighborhood

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A fire at a chemical plant in south Georgia resulted in multiple evacuation orders on Monday.

The fire at the Symrise chemical plant in Brunswick, which broke out at about 4 a.m., was still burning at mid-afternoon after a flareup, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Residents living within one mile of the plant were evacuated, while those within three miles of the plant were advised to shelter in place, according to WTLV-TV in Jacksonville, Florida.

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At least three explosions took place as the plant was burning, officials said.

“It was just a lot of smoke,” said witness Keith Rathbun, according to WJXT-TV.

“We sat there for a little bit and all you could see was smoke and the fire trucks just kept rolling in, kept rolling in …  Nobody told us what was going on,” he said.

One firefighter was reported to have been injured. No employees or other civilians were hurt, according to WTLV.

The plant makes fragrances, perfumes and oral care products, according to the company’s website.

No cause for the fire has been given.

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The fire is the latest in a string of factory fires that have struck the U.S. over the past year.

It comes as factory fires generally are rising, according to Resilinc, which monitors supply chain management.

“Factory fires are consistently the number one disruption reported, globally,” Resilinic said on its website.

Based on its monitoring of events, “in 2021 the number of factory fires was up 129% YOY and 2022 is on track to break 2021’s record. Through Q3 of 2022 we’ve sent more alerts on factory fires than all of 2021,” the company said.

“The biggest drivers of the increase are gaps in regulatory and process execution as well as pandemic-induced shortages of skilled labor in warehouses. Data also shows that the automotive and manufacturing industries are the most impacted by factory fires,” the company said.

A report issued by the company said that to date in 2022, it has sent out 2,889 alerts on factory fires.

The report offered insight into the origins of factory fires in general.

“We found that half of all fires started inside the facility, with the most common cause — by far — being faulty equipment and machinery. Flammable liquids and gasses were the second-highest cause of fire,” the report said.

“Often, equipment and machinery are not properly installed, operated, or maintained, which can lead to industrial fires. Companies do not always have proper safety, cleaning, or maintenance procedures for machinery or if they do, employees often aren’t sufficiently trained, leaving them unaware of what risks to watch out for and what to do if they find a hazard while working with machinery,” the report said.

“Additionally, companies typically do not proactively replace older equipment or machinery; instead, they wait until the equipment stops functioning properly, which can be a fire hazard,” the report stated.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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