Battle is on against Fitzgerald factory blaze

Police and firefighters are on scene at a factory fire in Fitzgerald after a fire broke out at the Suncoast Bedding factory on Peachtree Road Thursday around noon.
/ Ruby Hodgman | The Herald-Leader, Fitzgerald, GA

Police and firefighters were on the scene after a fire broke out at the Suncoast Agri-Products Inc. on Peachtree Road in Fitzgerald Thursday around noon.

Suncoast President Eddie Chalmers said the fire may have started from a electrical issue but that's not a definite reason. An investigation into the cause of the fire has begun.

All of the Suncoast employees were able to get out safely and no injuries were reported among them. A firefighter suffered a minor hand injury while fighting the fire.

When the fire broke out, employees inside the warehouse followed protocol by attempting to put out the blaze with hoses but within minutes the flames had engulfed the building and they were forced to retreat.

"You never want to get a call like that but my first impression was is everybody out of the building and that person that called me assured me that they were," said Eddie Chalmer.

Suncoast company officials said the wood chips stored inside the facility may have acted as an accelerant to the fire.

"The entire warehouse is a total loss. Our production outside looks like it's in tact, so we're grateful for that but the inside warehouse and products and all is a total loss," said Chalmer.

As for the 30 plus workers who have no building to return to, Chalmer said they can rest assured that their jobs are saved as they start over from the ground up.

Suncoast manufactures pine shaving for animal bedding and distribute their products across the world.