Glynn County Fire Department Snorkel
21 set up on the south-west corner of the building
The Brunswick Mall was unoccupied
early Tuesday morning, September 20, 1983, when the fire was discovered. A
security person who also had maintenance responsibilities did not have a
schedule of rounds and was not in the shopping center when the fire occurred.
Reportedly there was no watchman or security person in the shopping center after
the shops, theatre and mall were secured for the night.
A burglar alarm at 2:31 a.m. from
Friedman’s Jewelers gave the first notification of the fire. The Brunswick
Police Chief was near the shopping center when the alarm was received and he
responded to the Brunswick Mall to investigate. He arrived at the shopping
complex approximately three minutes after the alarm and observed fire between
the fountain area and the north entrance. The fire appeared to the chief to be
moving to the west. He drove to the west entrance and could see fire through
the roof at the far end of the mall. The chief radioed for the fire department
and, recognizing that the fire was already of major proportions, he immediately
requested that county fire apparatus respond.
The north entrance of the mall with theater
marquee. Fire can be seen through the glass door frames.
Fire Chief Nichols arrived on the
scene at approximately 2:35 a.m., about one minute before the first engine. He
drove to the west side of the complex and observed fire through the roof. He
also saw a corridor and several shops on both sides of the corridor involved in
fire. He then drove to the north side and could see spot fires in several
The first Brunswick engine arrived at
2:36 a.m. A long lay of 2 1/2 inch line was necessary from Coral Drive, south
of the shopping center, to the north side mall entrance. Two handlines were
advanced into the mall. Firefighters were able to reach the center of the main
east-west mall. They were not able to hold that position, however, and were
forced to retreat. The second engine arriving advanced lines through stores
between the south entrance and the Belk Hudson store. Two hose lines from
engine 5 were taken in the south mall entrance.
Off duty firefighters were called in
to man reserve apparatus to provide additional water. The advance of fire was
significantly checked at about the three quarter point of the shopping center.
The large Belk Hudson store was included in the part of the shopping center
that was saved. The fire was declared under control at approximately 1:00 a.m.
the following morning.
Aerial view of the Brunswick Mall after the fire.
DAMAGE AND CASUALTIES
There was no loss of life resulting
from the fire. Several firefighters received minor injuries during fire
The entire area of mall, shops, and
stores west of the east-west mall, the block of stores between the north-south
cross mall and the Belk Hudson store ranged from total destruction to heavy
smoke and heat damage. Even the stores closest to Belk Hudson received fire
damage to contents from exposure to the main mall fire. South of the main mall,
damage was somewhat less severe near the outside (south) wall and the Belk
Hudson store (east). Although the Belk Hudson store did not receive direct fire
damage, considerable damage to contents was caused by smoke, water and heat.
Total damage to the shopping center
was estimated at $7 – 8 million to the building and $4 million to contents.