BRUINSWICK, Ga. – A massive fire that was once contained then suddenly reignited at the Pinova plant in Brunswick caused voluntary evacuation orders for some residents who were within a 1/2 mile radius of the plant and a shelter-in-place order for the entire town Saturday.
The fire started early Saturday morning and officials said it was contained by mid-morning but reignited that same afternoon. Several crews joined Brunswick City and Glynn County fire departments to assist in combating the blaze. Around 10 p.m., officials announced that the massive blaze was finally extinguished and said no injuries were reported.
Officials have not provided a cause for the fire and did not specify the extent of property damage.
The News4JAX I-TEAM has taken a look into the history of violations at the Pinova plant.
In April 2022, the company was penalized $185,000 by the Georgia Environmental Protection Agency (GEPA). According to an order from the Environmental Protection Division, a report states the company had multiple failures to operate machinery without permits and didn’t take or submit records.
Then in December of that same year, Pinova was penalized $44,007 for an air quality act violation from GEPA. This report stated there were leaking components, missed monitoring and an insufficient wood plug.
In December 2021, The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) found four serious violations. Pinova was cited for not performing internal and exterior inspections of the rosin tank. The agency claims that employees were exposed to tank rupture hazards due to over-pressurization, and a citation claimed employees were exposed to chemical hazards. There were four violations that day, totaling $44,861 in penalties.
Another OSHA violation came in January 2019. An employee was injured when attempting to attach a hose to a tote. The tote slipped off the forklift and the employee injured his leg and knee and was hospitalized. Pinova paid a $4347 penalty.
There were four other air quality act violations from GEPA from 2012 to 2017, making the total in penalties $49,000.
In addition, dating back to August 2010 OSHA penalized Pinova $30,000 for safety-related offenses.