INVESTIGATES: Brunswick neighbors concerned about warehouse fire

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Firefighters in Brunswick are cleaning up after a massive warehouse full of wood pellets caught fire from a dust explosion.

Families are concerned about the working conditions there, and neighbors are worried about the smoke.

Crews had been on the scene since 7:30 Sunday night. On Monday evening, haze and smoke were still in the air.

Jennifer Norman tells Action News Jax the father of her children works at the site which is owned by Montreal-based biofuel company Logistec.

“It’s a concern for me because the smoke’s still out, and it think it’s unsafe for employees to work there,” Norman said.

She says her children’s father still went to work Monday morning at the site when she dropped him off.

“I actually inhaled some of the smoke going through there and I had to roll my windows up, and ooh, I coughed a lot,” Norman said.

The site has had issues in the past. In July 2015, there were at least two other fires.

Norman feels the site is dangerous.

“Anything could happen out there, anything could happen, anything... That would be nice if they would shut it down and get everything under control that way the workers can return back to work safely even if it takes them a couple days, a week,” she said.

Action News Jax reached out to Logistec to learn if employees were told to return; we’re still waiting for a response.

Meanwhile, neighbors are concerned about the smoke near their homes. Carolyn Macon lives nearby. She’s worried about her family’s health.

“I’m leaving so I could get some fresh air cause it’s so smokey in my house so I gotta get out of there,” Macon said early Monday morning.

Action News Jax Law & Safety Expert Dale Carson says some action can be taken.

“You could claim there’s damage to your lungs, to your living environment. For all, in homes, are allowed to live in peace, and so this is destructive of that, so from that perspective they could actually bring litigation,” Carson said.

Carson adds that the trick, though, is that what the warehouse was storing -- wood pellets -- isn’t typically dangerous.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports four safety violations at the site since 2012. That and the previous fires could be enough to give neighbors recourse, Carson says.

“You wouldn’t sue them, what you would do is write them a letter, and ask them to compensate you or ask their insurance company to compensate you for the time you had to spend in a hotel,” Carson said.

OSHA told Action News Jax it wasn’t aware of the incident but has since opened an investigation because of the local coverage.

“You could claim there’s damage to your lungs, to your living environment. For all, in homes, are allowed to live in peace, and so this is destructive of that, so from that perspective they could actually bring litigation,” Dale Carson, Action News Jax law & safety expert said.

“You wouldn’t sue them, what you would do is write them a letter, and ask them to compensate you or ask their insurance company to compensate you for the time you had to spend in a hotel,” Carson said.