I-TEAM delves into previous breaches at the Pinova factory in Brunswick

BRUINSWICK, Ga. – A massive fire that was once contained and then suddenly reignited at the Pinova plant in Brunswick prompted voluntary evacuation orders for some residents who were within a 1/2 mile radius of the plant and an order to city-wide shelter-in-place on Saturday.

The fire started early Saturday morning and officials said it was brought under control by mid-morning but reignited the same afternoon. Several crews joined the City of Brunswick and Glynn County Fire Departments to help fight the blaze. Around 10 p.m., officials announced that the massive fire had finally been extinguished and no injuries were reported.

Authorities have not provided a cause for the fire.

News4JAX’s I-TEAM delved into the history of violations at the Pinova plant.

In April 2022, the company was penalized $185,000 by the Georgia Environmental Protection Agency (GEPA). According to an order from the Environmental Protection Division, a report says the company had multiple failures to operate machinery without permits and failed to take or submit records.

Then, in December of the same year, Pinova was penalized $44,007 for a violation of the GEPA Clean Air Act. This report indicated that there were leaking components, missed monitoring and an insufficient wood plug.

In December 2021, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) found four serious violations. Pinova was cited for failing to perform internal and external inspections of the rosin tank. The agency says employees were put at risk of a tank rupture due to over-pressurization. And the citation claimed that employees were exposed to chemical hazards. There were four infractions that day for $44,861 in penalties.

Another OSHA violation occurred in January 2019. An employee was injured while attempting to attach a hose to a bag. The tote slipped off the forklift and the employee injured his leg and knee and was hospitalized. Pinova paid a penalty of $4347.

There were four other violations of the GEPA Clean Air Act from 2012 to 2017, bringing the total penalties to $49,000.

Additionally, since August 2010, OSHA has penalized Pinova $30,000 for safety violations.

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