SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Firefighters battled a giant blaze fueled by 5,600 tons of rubber Saturday at the Port of Savannah, where a towering column of black smoke could be seen from miles away.
By late Saturday, the fire department said its crews had contained the fire, but it could take a while for the flames to burn out inside a warehouse covering 226,000 square feet at the port's Ocean Terminal just west of downtown Savannah.
"It is contained," Savannah Fire and Emergency Services spokesman Mark Keller said late Saturday afternoon, after the fire had burned for at least five hours. "Will it burn all night? There's no telling. It's solid blocks of rubber that are burning."
Keller said firefighters were surrounding the warehouse with hoses on three sides and using industrial pumps to suck water from the Savannah River and blast in through water cannons. Crews will continue soaking into the night and Sunday if necessary.
The cause of the fire wasn't immediately known, but all port workers were accounted for and unharmed.
No mandatory evacuations have been ordered. Authorities are asking people in the downtown historic district, Savannah's tourism hub, to stay indoors as much as possible to limit exposure to smoke.
"Please limit the time you're out," Keller said, adding he didn't expect people to cancel dinner reservations or shopping trips. "If you're finished at the restaurant or finished with shopping, go back to your hotel room or go home."
Keller said firefighters probably won't be able to get close enough to investigate the cause until Sunday.
"Solid rubber blocks, they're going to burn and we're going to keep putting water on it," Keller said. "We'll just do it until the fire's out."