Editorial

5/9/2014

County officials must help prevent train fires

The Georgia Ports Authority and the Glynn County Commission would be wise to ask the railroad to find out why its trains are creating sparks that are igniting fires that are threatening port facilities on Colonel's Island, as well as the homes and lives of residents in the area.

For the second time in just over a week, the Glynn County Fire Department and the Georgia Forestry Commission were summoned to south Glynn on Wednesday to combat fires that had been ignited by sparks from a passing train.

The situation was bad enough this week, given the dryness of the woods, for the Glynn County Fire Department to ask for help from others. In addition to the always reliable Georgia Forestry Commission, responding to the call were Camden and Brantley counties, with backup from McIntosh County and a fire-fighting squad at Georgia-Pacific. Working as a team, the units were able to get control of the woods fire and prevent a major loss of property.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that there's an issue here. It wasn't too long ago, the community will remember, when a fire in the woods in the same general vicinity took out a trestle that connected Colonel's Island and its car-processing and agricultural facilities to markets in the United States and overseas. There's far too much at stake to risk that happening again, not to mention all the jobs that are on the line.

The major danger, of course, is to the residents and their life savings, which for many is the investment in their homes. As firefighters will tell most anyone who asks, battling fires in the woods can be extremely difficult and dangerous.

Port and county officials can do something to prevent future problems. They can ask the railroad company to check trains for anything that might burn up the landscape along the tracks.

Not doing anything will continue to put lives, jobs and property at risk.