Fire rips through Fall River mill complex

By Nbc 10 News

Heavy, black smoke billowed from Fall River's waterfront Tuesday as a fire burned through a vacant mill complex.

The fire broke out at about 2 p.m. in the complex near Bay and Shaw streets. The buildings are owned by Duro Textiles, but they are no longer used.

Crews were working inside the mill when the fire started, and just recently, some windows had been boarded up to keep people out. The Fire Chief tells NBC 10 police were conducting details at the mill to ensure that any unwanted trespassers were kept out.

Two firefighters were taken to the hospital for treatment. No other details about their injuries was available.

Mayor Will Flanagan said one of the mill buildings was a total loss and that firefighters were trying to prevent the flames from spreading to two more buildings in the complex.

Former workers said the building that was on fire housed the boiler room for the complex and a lab where materials were dyed.

"I think it's really sad. This is like an institution. It employed so many people from Fall River for such a long time," said Patricia Gregory, who worked in the factory until she was laid off in 1997.

Kuss Middle School, the Christian Academy and nearby homes were evacauted as a precaution. Traffic near the scene was reported to be grid-locked.

Firefighters from Swansea, Tiverton and Westport assisted.

According to its website, Duro is one of the country's largest dyers, printers, finishers and distributors of textile products.

"Thankfully no one was hurt and no production will be lost," CEO Edward W. Ricci II said in a statement.