February 10, 2012

GWTW memorabilia lost in Henry County blaze

A chunk of "irreplaceable" southern history apparently went up in flames overnight when fire raced through a Henry County storage facility.

The blaze broke out before midnight Thursday at Hudson Self Storage on Hudson Bridge Road near I-75.

Several storage units were heavily damaged, including a 20-by-12-foot storage bay leased by the Clayton County Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

Inside that unit was “highly, highly collectible” Gone With the Wind memorabilia from the Road to Tara museum, said Frenda Turner, a vice president with the Convention and Visitors Bureau, who came to the fire scene Friday to survey the damage.

Turner said that items not currently on display at the Jonesboro museum were stored at the facility.

“We had an awful lot of items that were from the Herb Bridges collection,” Turner told the AJC. Bridges is a noted collector of memorabilia from the book and movie.

“One thing that comes to mind, there were large circular poster-type boards that were used at the 1939 premier,” she said.

Turner said she feared that most of the items, which she called "irreplaceable," were destroyed, “if not by fire, by water.”

“We’re very anxious to find out the extent of the damage to the facility we have our items in,” she said.

Late Friday morning, firefighters continued to pour water on hot spots, while investigators from Henry County and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives worked to determine what sparked the blaze.

One person was possibly injured in the blaze. That person was being interviewed by arson investigators after showing up at Henry Medical Center for treatment of burns at about the same time that the fire was reported, Henry fire Capt. Sabrina Puckett said.

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