Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services, Canton Fire Department and Pickens County Fire and Rescue responded to the fire call at about 5:30 a.m. at the plant on Blue Ridge Avenue, across from the Georgia Northeastern railroad tracks.
“As firefighters entered the building, they found flames inside the structure and then had to determine the best access to reach the fire,” said Tim Cavender, Cherokee Fire Public Information Officer. “Once they got access, firefighters were able to get the fire under control within 40 minutes.”
Cavender said the building, which is abandoned, did not have a roof, so Cherokee County firefighters used the ladder truck to extinguish any hot spots inside the building.
“During the peak of the marble industry, this plant was home to approximately 50 Italian families that were brought to Nelson by the Georgia Marble Company because of their skilled craftsmanship in marble carving and sculpting,” Cavender said. “They worked here to craft some of the most widely recognized structures in America.”
Portions of Blue Ridge Avenue were blocked until firefighters extinguished the fire.
Cavender said the cause of the fire is under investigation, but what started the fire might not be known for several days.
“This was a large area, and they are going through the rubble, but it takes a few days for the stuff to be sent to the crime lab, where they have the necessary equipment to test what they get out,” Cavender said.
The site of the abandoned plant had a lot of debris from previous years, as it has not been operational for years, Cavender said.
“When I got there, the fire was spread out, the building was fairly big, but they were able to get it out pretty quickly,” he said.