Fire consumes Swift Lumber, Inc.

Published 3:50 pm Sunday, May 22, 2011

Firefighters work to extinguish a large blaze at Swift Lumber Mill Sunday afternoon.|Photo by Adam Prestridge

Dozens of firefighters from four area fire departments battled a large fire at Swift Lumber, Inc. just before 3 p.m. Sunday in Atmore.

Billows of smoke from the blaze could be seen from miles away as the fire grew larger in the lumberyard. Firemen from the Atmore and Poarch fire departments along with the Nokomis and Walnut Hill, Fla. volunteer fire departments and a few firemen with the Flomaton Volunteer Fire Department worked to extinguish the fire, which took nearly an hour to get under control.

According to Atmore Fire Department Chief Gerry McGhee, the exact cause of the fire has not been determined.

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“It is still under investigation,” McGhee said Monday afternoon.

Two firefighters remained on the scene of the fire throughout the night Sunday and into Monday morning at the request of Swift management, McGhee said.

“It was a precautionary measure,” he said. “We did not want the embers to cause the fire to flare back up. Fortunately, it did not.”

In total, 14 firefighters with Atmore worked to get the blaze under control. Although there was a large amount of city fire personnel and volunteers on the scene, McGhee said the fire would have been hard to contain without the mutual aid the department received.

“We appreciate all of the assistance from the surrounding area fire departments,” he said. “They were a big help and we really appreciate all that they do.”

Officers with the Atmore and Poarch police departments assisted at the scene with traffic control. Personnel with Atmore Ambulance were also on the scene.

The fire marks the second in less than six months at the lumberyard. In early January, a smaller blaze caused thousands of dollars in damage. It is believed electrical problem was the cause of that fire.

There were no reports of injuries.

Attempts to reach Swift Lumber management were unsuccessful as of press time Tuesday afternoon.

Large billows of black smoke fill the air around the Swift Lumber Mill Sunday afternoon.|Photo by Adam Prestridge