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Capsized Golden Ray cargo ship catches fire in St. Simons Sound

A Facebook page, Golden Ray Saint Simons Island Live Feed, is livestreaming as crews work to douse the flames. Thick plumes of smoke can be seen rising in the air.

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — The remaining wreckage of the capsized Golden Ray cargo ship has caught on fire in the St. Simons Sound Friday afternoon.

The Facebook page Golden Ray Saint Simons Island Live Feed is livestreaming as crews work to extinguish the flames. Thick plumes of dark smoke can be seen rising into the air.

Crews were conducting pre-cutting operations and actively using fire suppression systems as a preventative measure when the fire began.

The Public Information Officer for the Golden Ray told First Coast News that all non-essential responders have been safely evacuated from the ship and no one was hurt in the fire.

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Firefighters are on scene and safety personnel are conducting community air monitoring. 

The Golden Ray capsized in the St. Simons Sound in 2019. Crews started the process of dismantling the ship to haul it out of the sound last year.

Originally, officials estimated it would take 24 hours to cut each section of the ship, but several setbacks including the cutting chain being broken and delays due to tropics storms, it took more than 20 days to complete the first cut of the ship's bow.

After the first cut, debris including thumbnail-sized oil globules washed ashore on Jekyll Island. Officials say the debris was picked up.

Last year, Fletcher Sams, executive director of the Altamaha Riverkeeper group, told First Coast News he was concerned about what might happen when workers cut into the ship’s fuel tanks as well as whatever pollutants remain in more than 4,000 cars still on board the ship.

After completing the cut of the bow, crews moved to the cut the stern of the ship. That's where officials say the majority of the cars are located.

We will continue to update this developing story.

RELATED: First cut of Golden Ray completed; debris and oil found on nearby shores

RELATED: Crews finish 'first cut' on Golden Ray salvage effort, experts still concerned about environmental risks

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