Officials rule out arson as cause of Marietta fire

MARIETTA, Ga. -- Investigators have ruled out foul play or arson as the cause of a massive chemical fire in an industrial area of Marietta Friday night.

The blaze at a building owned by Amrep Industrial Park Drive near Cobb Parkway burned for 10 hours before fire crews were finally able to put it out early Saturday morning.

Crews stayed at the scene with ladder trucks in the air to keep water on the warehouse and check for hot spots.

By Saturday night, most of the officers had cleared the scene. The stretch in front of Industrial Park Blvd. remained closed to traffic.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

According to Officer David Baldwin from the Marietta Police Department, a patrolling officer saw the building on fire. By the times crews arrived, the building was fully engulfed. Explosions could be seen and heard coming from the fire.

Thick smoke could be seen from Cobb Parkway, Canton Road and from Interstate 75. No one was hurt, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Baldwin said the building is owned by Amrep, a chemical company. According to Baldwin, no toxic fumes were involved in the blaze.

The EPA was at the scene testing the smoke as a precaution.

The fire was hot enough to damage the business next door. The son of that building's owner told 11Alive's Blayne Alexander everything inside was a total loss.

Anthony Prater, an employee at Amrep, was at the plant when the fire began. He sound he heard several loud booms and then the fire alarm went off. He said the company makes aerosol products, but he wasn't sure where the fire started. He said that safety drills had prepared workers on how to evacuate.

According to Marietta Fire Assistant Chief Steve Ingram, the building did not have a sprinkler system, the only portion of the complex to be without, he said. Ingram told 11Alive News the building was built before sprinklers were mandated, but could have made a big difference in fighting the fire.

Cobb Parkway was closed in the area. In addition, nearby businesses were evacuated. Baldwin said about 200 people from businesses in the area and from the nearby Walker School were evacuated. All major roadways had been reopened by Saturday evening.

About 25 fire units from Cobb County and the city of Marietta are fighting the fire. In addition, two foam trucks from nearby Lockheed-Martin were helping firefighters.

By midnight, firefighters had taken a defensive posture. They were using aerial water hoses to battle the flames, but firefighters were out of the danger zone. The fire was expected to continue through the night.


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