BLACKSHEAR — The Southeast Eagle Distributing plant, an Anheuser-Busch beer-distribution facility in the industrial park on Sundance Road here, was destroyed by fire Monday morning, a blaze that was apparently sparked by a construction accident with a torch, according to Blackshear Police Chief Chris Wright.
A relative of an employee said insulation in the building accidentally caught fire.
“It was an accidental fire,” said Wright. “We do not suspect foul play.”
The fire began about 8:15 a.m., said Wright, who added that about 50 people are employed by the company in Blackshear. A dollar damage estimate was not available. Wright said he did not know the value of the business or its contents.
In the Monday edition of the Journal-Herald, a reporter erred in naming the location. The fire was not at the “old Raleigh Distributors” on Highway 84 close to the Satilla River bridges.
Fire crews from all over Pierce County responded and a plea was sent out for backup. Ware County Fire Department and Waycross Fire Department trucks and personnel also responded with mutual assistance to the blaze and worked for hours to bring it under control and to keep hot spots from reigniting.
Nobody was injured in the fire, which raged for several hours.
“Everyone got out of the building safely and the only injury we know of was to the shoulder of a firefighter,” said Wright. He added that a portion of the building was “pulled down” so that firemen could reach the fire.
A preliminary investigation shows that the fire resulted from a construction accident that involved a torch.
The state fire marshal was called and had arrived at the scene by midday Monday.
The Southeast Eagle Distributing Plant is located in the industrial park just west of Blackshear. The building belongs to Southern Eagle Distributors, which also operates in Florida and South Carolina. The company distributes Anheuser-Busch products and other beer brands from warehouses in Brunswick, Savannah, Vidalia, Blackshear and Fitzgerald.