On Sunday afternoon, St. George Island’s volunteer firefighters responded rapidly to an unusual conflagration.

On West Gulf Beach Drive, in front of BJ’s Pizza, a flatbed trailer loaded with portable plastic furniture caught fire. Witnesses said the blaze leapt 15 feet into the air when the trailer and cargo exploded into flames.

Fire Chief Jay Abbott said plastic fires can be difficult to control but his department was able to rapidly suppress the fire using foam.

He said the trailer, which had a wooden base, was probably damaged beyond repair, and about 70 chairs and a dozen tables it was carrying were reduced to charred metal tubing. Luckily, the driver was able to detach the van that was towing the trailer and move it to safety undamaged.

Abbott said on Sunday night, he received a call from a person who claimed to have noticed a small fire at the center of the trailer as it was leaving the Plantation where the furniture had been leased for a social event.

Attendees at the party said flaming tiki torches were displayed around the perimeter of the event to discourage insects and provide light.

Abbott speculated that fluid from the torches could have leaked onto the furniture and acted as an accelerant, but said damage to the trailer was so severe it was impossible to be certain.

It is unclear whether there were torches on the trailer with the furniture. The Party Rental Company in Eastpoint owned the trailer and furniture.