Imperial Sugar: 10 Years Later

On the evening of Feb. 7, 2008, an explosion at the Imperial Sugar refinery in Port Wentworth changed the community forever.

Eight workers died the night of the explosion and six later succumbed to their injuries.

Dozens were treated for injuries at Memorial Health in Savannah while others were transferred to the burn unit in Augusta.

The efforts of EMTs, firefighters and other first responders in the aftermath of the explosion were nothing short of a tall task.

And community members near and far rallied around the Port Wentworth community in support.

10 years after the tragedy, we’re honoring those who died and those who made it out alive.

Butler Family on loss and survival in 2008

Carrie and John Sr. Butler had, not one, but three loved ones in the plant that evening. Hear their story of hope, love and loss.

Memorial Health on the front lines 

Thirteen miles away from the site of the explosion, dozens of medical professionals immediately mobilized at the Memorial Health. Dr. Jay Goldstein, Medical Director of Emergency Medicine headed up effort at the Trauma Center that night.

From Savannah to the Augusta burn center

21 suffered life-threatening burns and were flown to Augusta. Meet the doctors who helped save 15 lives after the explosion.

Fighting the fire for days

The challenge of fighting the fires throughout the imperial plant cannot be underestimated. First responders spent days going in and out of the refinery doing what they do until the job was done.

What have we learned? 

Hear more about what went right, what went wrong, and what has improved since the 2008 blast.

Through the eyes of Capt. Roy Howard

Savannah Fire Captain Roy Howard was one of the first firefighters on scene. He provided some of the most harrowing and detailed videos – and stories – of that fateful day.

Across from “Ground Zero”

To cope with extraordinary times, some people call on faith. But one church found itself in its own extraordinary position — Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church.

A story of survival 

Lorne Gilbert was working the second shift when the plant was rocked by loud booms and a massive fireball. He sat down with News 3 to share his story.

Healing and hope: An open sanctuary 

One Savannah church offered healing and hope to the community, 10 years ago and still to this day.

A flood of support 

In the days and weeks following the tragedy, an outpouring of love and support rushed into Port Wentworth like a river. “Just unbelievable,” as then-Mayor Glenn “Pig” Jones says.

Have regulations changed?  

The Feb. 7 explosion was, unfortunately, a perfect storm in terms of sugar dust that wasn’t managed. And as John Barrow explains, “This sort of thing happens with frightening regularity.”

Coming together 10 years later   

On the 10th anniversary, a memorial service was held for those lost to the explosion.