Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John W. Oxendine reported that the fire that gutted the Farm Commodities Peanut Warehouse in Sylvester, Ga. last week was accidental.
“Our investigation was able to rule out arson, electrical problems, and weather as causes of the fire,” Oxendine said. “We believe acetylene cutting torches used in the warehouse the day before the fire may have sparked the blaze.”
The fire, which continued to smolder for several days, caused an estimated $3.5 million loss, Oxendine said: $2 million on the structure and $1.5 million on contents.
“More than 2300 tons of peanuts were burning,” Oxendine said. “This is a serious economic loss for this community.”
Several local fire departments pitched in to extinguish the blaze, which took most of last week, Oxendine added.
Georgia Insurance Department