A massive fire between Kinsley Avenue and Harris Avenue in Providence lit the night skies overnight Monday.
The first calls came in about 11:45 p.m. for a fire at a vacant industrial building at 4 Sims Avenue. The mill was vacant but part of the building was a RIPAC medical marijuana operation.
Heavy, black smoke and intense flames filled the skyline as crews struggled to bring the 5-alarm blaze under control. The icy conditions caused by below freezing temperatures made for difficult conditions in fighting the fire. Several walls and the roof of the almost 90,000-square-foot building collapsed and the building is determined to be a total loss. Providence firefighters received help from surround fire departments.
Officials told NBC 10 that surrounding businesses are untouched but that the streets around the mill remain closed. Local workers from the surrounding businesses are being sent home.
Eyewitnesses said it appeared the entire block was on fire.
Officials said no one was inside the building at the time of the fire. One firefighter sustained a shoulder injury.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management issued an Air Quality Alert for Providence due to widespread smoke from the fire. The DEM said air quality levels should remain unhealthy for Providence through at least late day Tuesday.