Investigators believe a chemical applied to peanuts may have been the source of a recent fire that caused $750,000 worth of damage and destroyed a silo at a Cordele, Georgia peanut plant. No one was injured in the fire at GFA Peanut Company, however 900 tons of peanuts were destroyed. The silo was torn down last week and only the base remains as a reminder of the incident.

Because the fire collapsed the roof of the silo, firefighters were not able to climb atop the structure to spray water directly onto the source of the fire. Instead of blindly spraying water into the fire, a remote-controlled drone, supplied by one of the volunteer firefighters, was used to help quickly contain the fire. The drone captured images that allowed a helicopter to drop water bags onto the fire. Willie Jackson, a Crisp County firefighter, said the drone gave a “bird’s eye view of where the bulk of the fire was coming from.”

According to, Richard Crozier, GFA Peanut manager, “Peanuts are made up of anywhere from 45 to 48 percent oil. So when you get it burning it’s almost impossible to put it out,” and, “When you look back at it, we hate that there’s a loss of peanuts and loss of equipment and material, but at the same time, the safety–none of our people were hurt. None of their people were injured.”

GFA Peanut Company is a major peanut processing plant that supplies both wholesale and retail outlets, mostly for snacks and for making peanut butter. It is located 140 miles south of Atlanta.