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Sprinkler on old Georgia Chair roof likely ‘saved this business’ after fire
12232021 fire
Crews work Dec. 22, 2021, at the site of a fire at The Chair Factory in midtown Gainesville. - photo by Nick Watson

Gainesville Fire Department personnel are investigating a commercial fire at the old Georgia Chair complex that houses a cooperage and The Chair Factory event space. The fire affected the Gainesville Cooperage, which crafts barrels used by wineries, distilleries and breweries locally and throughout the U.S.

Sprinklers appear to have mostly put the fire out at the Industrial Boulevard business, but crews contained the fire just after 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 22.

The fire reached the roof area, according to Gainesville Fire Division Chief Keith Smith. 

“There’s a sprinkler head right up there where the fire was,” Smith said. “That water flowing set off the water flow alarm.” 

No injuries were reported, and Smith said he believes no one was there when the call came in at 12:33 p.m. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

Smith said they had to tear some of the metal in the roofing to make sure there were no embers underneath it. 

The division chief said the sprinkler likely “saved this business.”

Industrial Boulevard behind the building was closed as of about 1 p.m. but reopened shortly thereafter.

The business is located in a building that was home to Georgia Chair for more than 100 years before it closed in 2016. The complex, known as Midland Social, also includes The Chair Factory event space and could include a Jekyll Brewing location. The Alpharetta-based brewing company filed plans with the city in November.