Fire claims Tiger-Sul building

Published 3:23 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2023

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A building collapsed and some 300 tons of sulfur was lost as a result of a fire at Tiger-Sul on Jan. 6, according to the Atmore Fire Department.

Chief Ronald Peebles said several other agencies, including Poarch, Nokomis, Escambia County, Fla. and Medstar responded to the fire. First responders spent some six hours on scene.

“When we first got there, the building was already collapsed,” Peebles said. “Our main focus right off the bat was cooling the rail cars on the side of the building. Poarch, Nokomis and us were focusing on cooling the rail cars. Once we got to a certain point where the fire had calmed down, we started focusing on putting the fire out rather than cooling the tanks.”

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Peebles added that with everything going on, there was a lot of water running off.

“We had a crew damming or docking the ditch behind the facility,” he said. “We didn’t want contaminated water going into the holding pond and Brushy Creek. Our guys and Tiger-Sul employees helped in that effort, too. They didn’t let anything get into the holding pond.”

Peebles said Escambia County EMA Director David Adams came out and handled a lot of the outside operations, including an air monitoring crew.

“They monitored the air a mile away from the scene in all directions,” he said. “The only time we had bad quality of air was on scene itself.”

Peebles said the air monitoring was done in a mile in all directions because of the wind shifts.

CSX and Highway 31 were shut down for a while, Peebles said, adding that between 30-40 firefighters from different agencies helped battle the fire.

“The Atmore Police Department did an excellent job for me going south of the scene, and went door to door asking people to shelter in place,” Peebles said. “We also evacuated the golf course and everybody around it.”

Peebles said some 300 tons of sulfur was contained in the storage building that collapsed. Liquefied sulfur was in the rail tanks.

Peebles said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Peebles said the fire was contained to just the storage structure, and the runoff, which was described as a lava-like fluid, set the woods on fire.

“My guys did one heck-of-a job,” Peebles said. “Everybody did a heck-of-a job.”

No employees at the facility were injured as a result of the fire. Peebles said a Poarch firefighter had a board fall on him, and two AFD firefighters have severe skin irritation, a rash.

“Other than that, everybody is good,” he said. “Everybody is OK.”

Peebles said city Councilmembers Shawn Lassiter and Chris Harrison supplied drinking water and Gatorade for everybody.

“Our city council played a major part of helping us on scene,” he said.

The AFD was called to the scene at 9:25 a.m., and arrived 5 minutes later. Firefighters cleared the scene at 3:45 p.m.