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Fire damages Equinox plant

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- Despite the heavy smoke billowing from a fire at the Equinox Chemicals plant 3 p.m. Saturday, the business will not close, a company official said.

"The fire was contained in the back of the building," said Mark Grimaldi, company president. "We will open up with all our employees on Monday. We are a family-owned flavoring and fragrance chemical company."

The fire started in a rear corner of the 10,000-square-foot building while the business was closed for the weekend and there were no injuries, Grimaldi said. The fire apparently burned through the buildings insulation causing the heavy smoke, he added.

Donning oxygen masks against the smoke, Albany Fire Department firefighters responded to the fire with four fire trucks and the fire department's hazardous materials truck. The fire was under control at about 3:40 p.m., said fire Chief James Carswell.

Firefighters sweated heavily beneath the masks and their protective clothing during the sunny, 82-degree afternoon.

One firefighter was taken away by Dougherty County EMS at about 4:25 p.m. after complaining of breathing difficulty, Carswell said.

"We don't think it was chemicals," Carswell said. "But we want to have her checked out."

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, Carswell said. Oakridge Drive was closed from Westover Boulevard to Old Pretoria Drive for several hours, he added.