Flames rip through peanut warehouse in Courtland

Posted at 1:38 PM, Oct 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-10 19:24:07-04

Peanuts. They're the reason firefighters say they're still at the Hancock Peanut Warehouse, more than 24 hours later, trying to put out the flames.

"The problem is the peanuts," Courtland fire chief Brian Futrell told NewsChannel 3.

Because they're cooked in oil, they're extremely flammable. Firefighters are working to get them out, but most are underneath a building that collapsed in the fire.

"When the building collapsed yesterday all the timber fell down and we had a hard time getting to the peanuts and get them out," he said.

Another problem is the water supply.

There isn't a municipal water pump near the warehouse, so firetrucks must go about a half mile away to a pumping station.

Once the Fire trucks fill up with water, they bring it down to the warehouse, and empty it into a pool that holds about 2000 gallons.

"When you have to come away from a fire to fill tankers and trucks to get back to provide that water supply, it takes a while," Ivor Fire Captain Keith Joyner said.

At one point, there were 25 departments here, and each had trucks helping transport the water.

"It's very difficult with the water supply and having to draft from the river and go to multiple draft sites and different areas to pull the water," Captain Futrell said.

Fire officials tell NewsChannel 3 they're hoping the fire is out in 24 hours, but once it's out, firefighters will still have to monitor the area to make sure nothing starts up again.

Three firefighters were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, but they will be OK.