Southwest Georgia Ethanol, LLC, a FUEL Company, (SWGE) had a fire occur within one of its ddgs silos on Thursday, September 15, 2011. Earlier in the afternoon, the grains division experienced some trouble loading out dried distillers grains (ddgs). After the maintenance crew inspected the 8020 silo, they became aware there was a mechanical issue within the dome of the silo. There was an issue with the auger on the other ddgs silo. The maintenance crew was planning to work on the ddgs silos when they completed the task they were doing. Around 8:30 p.m., an employee saw smoke coming from the top of the 8020 silo and immediately called 911. Camilla and Pelham Fire Departments as well as Autry and Cotton VFD responded. The fire was contained within the 8020 silo. The fire department was able to bring the temperature of the silo from 270 degrees to 89 degrees as determined by a thermal imaging device. Early Friday morning, the fire in the silo flared up again and rose to 110 degrees. Firemen are currently wetting it down to make sure it is extinguished. Chief Bobby Beck of the Camilla Fire Department said that the fire is now a "babysitting job." No one was injured in the incident.
The fire occurred in the same silo where an incident occurred on August 8th. Gear boxes had been replaced within the dome of the silo following the August 8th incident. SWGE will have a thorough investigation performed by a third party to determine the problem.
SWGE began loading out ethanol Friday morning. SWGE will start receiving corn Friday mid-morning and anticipates loading out scheduled ddgs shipments beginning Sunday afternoon.
The plant was not in production due to a scheduled maintenance shut down that began on Sunday night and was completed Thursday evening as scheduled. SWGE plans to start bringing the plant back up to full production beginning around noon on Friday as scheduled following the week long shutdown.