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Chemical Blaze Forces Evacuations in Georgia

The fire caused three metal tanks to explode.

A fire broke out at a Symrise chemical plant in Georgia on Monday morning, and the blaze prompted local authorities to evacuate some 100 homes over toxic smoke and potential explosion concerns.

Employees were evacuated after a fire started around 4:00 am at the plant, which makes fragrance ingredients used in detergents, household cleaners and perfumes. 

According to WTOC, the chemical involved in the blast is hydrogen peroxide pinene, a volatile chemical.

According to the AP, more than 12 hours after the fire broke out, firefighters were making progress. Still, emergency crews started evacuating all residents within a one-mile radius of the plant. Those within a three-mile radius were told to shelter in place. The primary concern is the large plume of toxic smoke. 

The fire caused three metal tanks to explode and made it a difficult fire to suppress. Firefighters used more than 1 million gallons of water stored in on-site tanks before tanker trucks arrived with additional supplies and fire suppressant foam. 

The facility is located outside Brunswick, a port city about 80 miles south of Savannah. 

The cause of the fire remains unknown, but an investigation will begin once the fire is put out. Emergency personnel hope the families can be back in the 100 or so households by the night's end. 

Symrise is a German company that produces fragrances, flavoring and other ingredients for foods and cosmetics.

Update: According to WTOC, the evacuation orders have been lifted and the fire was extinguished on Monday night. 

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