By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
City firefighters saved most of the cargo after a sulfur-laden tractor-trailer rig burst into flames October 11 at a local industry but they weren’t so lucky in their effort to save the semi’s cab.
Two truckloads of Atmore Fire Department personnel were dispatched to Tiger-Sul around 11:13 a.m. The first unit arrived six minutes later, and the local firemen poured everything they had onto the flaming truck cab as flames tried to invade the trailer and its load.
The air around the truck fire was filled with the acrid smell and taste of the yellow element.
According to AFD reports, the rig’s unidentified driver told firemen he had moved onto the company’s scales with a full load of sulfur when he noticed fire coming from beneath his truck’s hood.
Fire reports note that “black smoke could be seen two miles out,” as AFD crews raced to the Atmore Industrial Park’s southern sector, up a hill off U.S. 31 South. Poarch Creek Indian firefighters were called for backup as a matter of protocol, but the PCI unit was reportedly turned around before it got to the site.
According to reports, AFD personnel “extinguished the fire while attempting to keep water off the cargo.” That effort was mostly successful, and only minimal water exposure resulted, although there was no threat of a chemical reaction because sulfur won’t dissolve in water.
Reports show that “some water hit the front compartment of the trailer, and some hit the load.” The fire-ravaged cab was declared a total loss.
Firefighters finally cleared the scene at 12:26 p.m. after having battled the blaze for more than an hour,