Firefighters from all across the county responded to an extremely large structure fire at 274 Meador Road at Farm Systems Inc Thursday evening, on Hwy 84 West.
Employees at the business received notification of the fire alarm going off at 7:31 p.m. Shortly after this alarm, multiple Volunteer Fire Departments began responding.
When the first firefighters got to the scene, they saw smoke billowing from all around the building and flames were near the rear of the building (east side). Firefighters had difficulty accessing the building and had to use power tools to gain access.
After getting inside, firefighters mounted an aggressive interior fire attack. Large amounts of kerosene, tannerite, propane, fertilizer, and other explosive items were in the building. There was also a brand new shipment of ammunition that had just been received into the 27,000-square-foot metal building.
Once firefighters were inside the building, at least one propane tank exploded early into the operation. No firefighters were injured at that time.
Firefighters were unable to contain the fire to the back of the building and ultimately had to vacate the building due to loss of structural integrity once the fire breached the roof.
Ultimately firefighters retreated to a defensive position, fighting the blaze from outside the building. By 9:30 pm ammunition detonating and other explosions were consistently heard for over an hour.
Highway 84 had to be shut down between Hwy 28 and Flynt Road for several hours, as the area was flooded with emergency vehicles and equipment.
Fourteen Jones County volunteer fire departments responded, including Calhoun, Soso, Sharon, Hebron, Pleasant Ridge, Shady Grove, Sandersville, Powers, Rustin, Moselle, Ovett, MM, Glade, Johnson. Mutual aid was rendered by Ellisville FD and Laurel FD, as well as firefighters from Mossville and Stringer VFDs out of Jasper County, and numerous firefighters responded from Smith County. Several firefighters from Forrest County also responded. All firefighters did an excellent job at this very complex scene.
The Jones County Volunteer Fire Council said they greatly appreciated each firefighter and all those who assisted with mutual aid.
JCSO, MHP, and Emserv Ambulance Service also responded to the scene. Emserv treated a total of three individuals, two of them firefighters with minor injuries. None were transported to the hospital. LPD assisted with traffic control at the city limits.
Jones County Beat 2 personnel responded with heavy equipment to assist. The parent company of Farm Systems Inc is J & R Lumber and Supply out of Alabama, according to the general manager of Farm Systems.
The building was severely damaged from the fire and firefighters worked for over seven hours to get it under control.