Memorial service honors those impacted by Imperial Sugar explosion

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — In honor of those impacted by the Imperial Sugar refinery explosion in 2008, a memorial service was held at St. Philip Monumental AME Church.

Friends, family, first responders and community members filled the church pews on Wednesday to honor those who lost their lives just ten years ago.

As Lawrence Manker says, it was a night of reflection and remembrance.

“Remembering the people that were in the accident that are still living with their scars and also remembering the ones that lost their lives,” he said.

Manker was in the plant at the time of the explosion.

“You know at 19-year-old, death seems so distant. But in that moment it was like — this is real,” he said.

Though he was able to make it out of the plant, Manker lives his life with permanent scars.

“That’s what I live with every day. You can’t run from it, you can’t hide from it,” he said. “When you look in the mirror you think about the sugar refinery.”

Manker says he has been able to past it. He says his relationship with God and his family have helped him heal and kept him going.

“I came to closure a while ago, about the event. Understanding that I have to move forward. Understanding that if I hold on to the past I can’t move forward,” Manker said.

He added that he is grateful for those looking back and remembering the events that unfolded 10 years prior.

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