Port Panama City Fire Contained

By: Sandra Osborne Email
By: Sandra Osborne Email

While there are no open flames in the building at Port Panama City that caught fire Wednesday night, fire officials are still working to completely extinguish all the hot spots.

The Port Authority owns the building but it is used by Green Circle Energy Plant, of Cottondale, where it manufactures and ships wood pellets.

The pellets, made of pine, are carried by train to the port in Panama City where they are loaded on ships and sent to Europe.

“They rely on this port 100 percent for the marketing of their product to Europe, for the distribution of their product to Europe. So, we’re very concerned about helping them get back into business as quickly as possible,” said Port Authority Executive Director Wayne Stubbs.

The pellets are extremely flammable and fire officials believe the blaze started on the conveyor belt used to move the pellets from one building to another.

It created a very thick, black smoke and it made impoosible for our fire department to go in the building.

Fire officials quickly contained the blaze, but it will be a slow process before the building is considered fire free.

“This part of the operation is actually the real hard work because you have to do it very slowly and meticulously because you can get flare ups as you move material,” said Panama City Fire Chief Wayne Watts.

Flare ups already caused more smoke on Thursday and more damage to the top of the main warehouse building.

The building and equipment inside are estimated to be worth 13 million dollars.

So far, fire officials say the building appears structurally sound.

Fire officials say there have been no reported injuries. Area Firefighters have practiced emergency drills in the warehouse before and the building was fully insured.

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