1 of 4,200 cars catches fire on Golden Ray cargo ship

Car catches fire inside Golden Ray cargo ship

ST. SIMONS SOUND, Ga. — A fire on board the overturned Golden Ray cargo ship was quickly put out this morning.

According to the Altamaha Coastkeeper, the fire happened around 11 a.m. Sunday and just days after a new company took over the effort to remove the ship from the water.

Action News Jax obtained video of smoke pouring out of the overturned cargo ship off St. Simons Island. It’s the latest drama to happen on the Golden Ray as crews work to remove the 656-foot ship from the water.

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Danielle Woodard worries about what it’s doing to the environment.

“I heard about it on the news today, and I am just wondering what is going to be the next thing that is going to happen,” Woodard said.

The plan is for the ship to be disassembled in place. Action News Jax first told you last September when the ship carrying 4,200 cars flipped on its side. Our cameras captured the breathtaking moment when four crew members were rescued from it.

Action News Jax reporter Jamarlo Phillips met Altamaha Coastkeeper Susan Inman at the pier Sunday.

“When you have a fire, you have to really be concerned about your air quality, but also your workers on the ship and around the ship. Also, there is so much contaminants still on the ship that could catch fire,” Inman explained.

Inman told Action News Jax workers were welding inside the ship when the fire started. She said a piece of metal dropped inside the ship and at least one car caught fire.

Action News Jax found out last week a new company called T & T Salvage took over operations to remove the ship.

“They’re bringing in their own equipment while the other company took their equipment out,” Inman added.

Inman said the new company used its own fireboat inside the ship to put out the fire. She says after that happened, the Unified Command was brought in to help clean up.

“There is so much contaminants still inside besides the cars. We still have close to 50,000 gallons of fuel on board that we couldn’t get to, so this is still a very big concern for the community,” Inman said.

Neighbors told Phillips they’re not getting straight answers when they ask exactly how long it’s going to take to remove the ship.

"What’s the next step, what they’re going to do with the boat and what about a projected date?” Woodard said.

“When you ask Gallagher the insurance that’s involved, they say within 2020, that’s all we know,” Inman explained.

According to the Unified Command, 320,000 gallons of fuel have been removed so far from the Golden Ray.