Video: Fire Breaks Out During Golden Ray Salvage Operations
A fire broke out at the salvage site of the Golden Ray near Brunswick, Georgia at mid-day today. The St. Simons Sound Incident Response Unified Command is reporting that all non-essential personnel has been safely evacuated and that at this time there are no injuries.
The cause of the fire is unknown as firefighters and the fire suppression systems installed on the wreck were being used to fight the blaze. Smoke can be seen billowing from the site while water is being sprayed onto the fire. Firefighting vessels are on scene and safety personnel are conducting air monitoring.
On May 7, preparation work had begun for the next cut into the wreck, the fifth of seven planned cuts. The Unified Command is reporting that this work was underway today with the team conducting pre-cutting operations. Fire suppression systems were in place as a preventative measure while the preparatory cutting was being undertaken to get ready for the chain cutting operation to separate what was being called section three from the remaining Golden Ray wreck.
The crews have routinely been conducting efforts within the wreck to prepare for the main cutting operations. Earlier in the week, the Unified Command reported that a total of 77 vehicles and two moveable decks had been removed from the section as part of a weight-shedding operation.
The cutting operation on the wreck has encountered numerous challenges since it began last fall. The original chain broke on several occasions and encountered problems penetrating the wreck. The salvage team later replaced it with a heavier-weight chain and also began additional efforts at making preparatory cuts into the hull and structure before beginning the actual cutting operations.
The Unified Command had warned and said it expected that there could be fires during the salvage operation. They had installed fire suppression systems and were maintaining fire safety and watches during these types of torching operations.
The fire is continuing to burn although live feeds show that the smoke has become lighter in color and greyer possibly indicating that the firefighters are making progress. Additional updates are expected from the Unified Command.