HAZLEHURST, Ga. (WSAV) – A major fire at the Jeff Davis County EMA building damaged several ambulances and left the 911 center inoperative Saturday night.
Dispatchers had to make the call for their own building.
“911 dispatchers heard an explosion,” said Charles Wasdin, county fire chief and EMA director. “They rang down to the EMS and said ‘Hey we’ve got an explosion, we have smoke coming in the building.'”
The entire building — which housed EMS, 911 and EOC operations — was evacuated as neighboring counties came in to assist.
“All county ambulances are currently out of commission and 911 is down, but thanks to our friends in Appling, Bacon, and Coffee Counties, 911 calls are being answered and ambulances are available to make calls,” Jeff Davis County Administrator Oakley Perry stated. “We will get through this because we are #JDStrong.”
Wasdin said the building is now unusable, and all five ambulances were damaged.
No serious injuries were reported, but three firefighters sought medical attention, at least one for smoke inhalation.
The cause of the fire has not been determined but Wasdin said the state fire marshal was expected to survey the building Sunday morning.
Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp made a trip down to the county Sunday to see the damage as well.
Officials say they’ll be borrowing ambulances from other counties until they replace those that were damaged.
“It’s going to have, naturally, a financial impact that was unexpected, that you don’t plan for. But as far as the services of the 911 and EMS — those services are not going to slack,” said Jeff Davis County Sheriff Preston Bohannon.
“We’re here for you,” he added. “We’re not going to miss a beat. If y’all need us, you dial the number you normally dial and you’ll get assistance.”