News 12 This Morning Local Update - December 11, 2006

Fire at Augusta Chemical plant

The old Augusta Chemical plant caught fire just after 9 o'clock Sunday night, and continued to burn overnight.

The plant is located in the 1000 block of Glass Factory Avenue, off of Old Savannah Road in south Augusta.

As of 10:20 a.m., the fire was still smoldering. The flames were out, but firefighters spent the wee hours of the morning making that happen. Investigators could not immediately get close to the fire and indicated it would be another day before they could go through the rubble.

People on the scene tell News 12 people living nearby even left their houses early in the night. Lt. Hannan of the fire department says they are in no danger and were evacuated as a precaution.

Fire officials are still investigating the cause, but representatives with the Georgia branch of the Environmental Protection Agency tell News 12 no chemicals were inside the plant.

Biggest drug bust in 6 years in Burke County

It's the biggest drug bust Burke County has seen in six years.

Drugs were found in every room of a Burke County home, including the attic.

Friday, deputies arrested Stephen Boyette and seized over $100,000 worth of marijuana, cocaine, and prescription drugs.

They were found in the home at 1032 Taylor Road in Keysville, about 10 miles from Waynesboro.

It took deputies about eight hours to clear out the house.

They also found thousands of dollars.

Officers were tipped off by O'Neal Johnson.

Johnson was arrested two days ago when Boyette reported that he was trying to break into the home.

Boyette faces two felony charges: trafficking of marijuana and trafficking of cocaine.

Burial for Aiken County deputy

An Aiken County deputy killed last week on the job will be buried today.

29-year-old Jason Sheppard died Thursday night after being hit by an SUV while directing traffic on the scene of a fire.

Funeral services will be this morning at 11 o'clock at Millbrook Baptist Church on East Pine Log Road in Aiken.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking you to send donations to the Aiken County Sheriff's Office or to the Berlin Baptist Church.

Augusta Mall answers claims of harassment

The Augusta Mall is answering claims of harrassment from several customers.

General Manager Linda Harden says security is doing their job and that they're not being overly aggressive.

Harden tells news 12 it is the responsibility of the shopper to read and follow the mall's code of conduct, which provides courtesies to other shoppers.

Coming Up

Two area hotels built at the turn of the 20th century are back in business again.

Hear all about it on the Buzz on Biz. That's on News 12 This Morning starting at 5:30 a.m.