State fire marshal to investigate blaze at Pascagoula port - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

State fire marshal to investigate blaze at Pascagoula port

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -

The state fire marshal and an investigation team will be in Pascagoula Wednesday morning to determine what caused a fire at the city's port. Around 1:30 this morning, a blaze broke out at the Gulf Coast Cold Storage facility. The port leases space to the business.

Pascagoula firefighters swarmed Gulf Coast Cold Storage to fight the flames shooting out of the roof.

"The flames were in the blast area where the main fire was at, and then it kind of like spread toward the other part of the roof," employee Randy Walker said.

Walker got to the site minutes after the fire sparked and said it just kept burning and burning.

"The fire was just coming up from there and smoke, a lot of black smoke."  

Pascagoula's deputy fire chief said it took two and half hours and more than 30 firefighters to finally contain the blaze.

"The fire was too intense for us to get in there," said Deputy Fire Chief Donnie Carlson.

"We set up both of our aerial trucks and starting putting water on it. The tug boat shortly arrived after that started dumping about 12,000 gallons a minute on the fire."

Gulf Coast Cold Storage leases the building from the Jackson County Port Authority. Frozen poultry is housed inside the facility.

"It was a very old building actually. It was built in late 1950's to support the bagging operation," said Port Authority Director Mark McAndrews.

"The first portion of it was converted into a freezer in 1996 and the central portion was converted after Hurricane Katrina."  

What caused this fire is still a mystery. While fire officials don't have an exact estimate of damage, they do know it is pretty bad.

"It is probably a total loss on the building. Anytime you have extensive fire damage like that it affects every structural component in that building," said Carlson.

Port officials are relieved no one was inside and injured. Now the focus is rebuilding.

"Of course, the facility is insured, but it is bump in the road for what's been recovering year for us as far as tonnage and volume and we hope to back in operation as quickly as possible," said McAndrews.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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