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Blaze at storage facility sends 5 firefighters to hospital

Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 6:49 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - An Augusta firefighter is still in the hospital Tuesday after a storage facility fire on Monday.

Firefighters continue to check to make sure the fire does not start back up. They say there are steps to help reduce the risk of something like this from happening.

We spoke with one storage facility owner down the street, who says this is something out of a nightmare.

Smoke could be seen from the highway as firefighters worked to contain a raging storage facility fire at Simply Self Storage.

“My heart just sank,” said Max Vallotton.

Vallotton saw the smoke on his drive into work. He’s the owner of Gate 5 Self Storage.

“It was definitely a nightmare. The smoke was just very heavy and very black smoke, and I just cringed,” he said.

After doing this for 16 years, it makes him think about what could happen.

“What if that happened to Gate 5 Self Storage. It could be my facility,” he said.

Vallotton says it’s standard to require insurance for customers, and there are precautions he takes.

“There’s a list of stuff that we request not be stored,” he said.

Jason DeHart, Augusta Fire Department said: “Chemically related things, gasoline related things, anything flammable, do not put it in a storage unit.”

The most difficult part of this fire was not knowing what was in each unit.

“We saw vehicles in there. We saw gasoline canisters that thankfully didn’t ignite to make things worse,” he said.

Five firefighters were taken to the hospital, and three more were evaluated on the scene, most of them suffering from smoke inhalation.

Gate 5 is lending a helping hand to anyone impacted.

“If there’s anything we can do, let us know. We’re here for you. We’re family, we’re friends,” said Vallotton.

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