- A 112-year-old building, once the home of the Woonsocket Rubber Co., a firm that made decoy tanks for the D-Day invasion in World War II and later manufactured Keds sneakers, was destroyed Tuesday night by a spectacular fire. Smoke from the blaze could be seen as far away as Providence.Fire Chief Gary Lataille said 10 to 15 departments from Rhode Island and Massachusetts were called in to help battle the seven-alarm blaze. While the fiire appeared to be small at first, according to Mayor Leo T. Fontaine, the fire quickly spread to engulf the 180,000-square-foot mill structure.Lataille said that with the river bordering one side of the complex, and a huge parking lot bordering another, he determined early that the best strategy was to contain the fire so it would not spread to houses along River Street and to let it burn completely to the ground
- Live Feed HERE: http://www.wpri.com/generic/news/live_stream
- Fox 25 News Boston, Live Feed; http://www.myfoxboston.com/generic/video/live_chat/fox-25-news-live-video-myfoxboston-generic-98
- Photos, HERE
According to tax records, the factory was built in 1889 and is more than 217,000 square feet. It was sold to real estate company Fairmount LLC in Decemeber 2010 for $310,000.
The assessed value of the building and land is more than $900,000 according to tax records.
The building, known as Alice Mills, has been vacant since 2009 and is a very historic Woonsocket landmark.
- History of Alice Mills: HERE http://www.wpri.com/dpp/news/local_news/blackstone/history-of-the-famous–alice-mills-in-woonsocket
- Marshal: welding torch caused mill fire Heat from a welding torch probably caused the massive fire that destroyed the Alice Mills in Woonsocket, the state fire marshal said Wednesday, Also HERE
- Residual heat from a blow torch used by a contractor is believed to have sparked the fire Tuesday evening. The building owner told investigators that the contractor was using that blow torch for some plumbing work inside the building.
- More than 125 firefighters from as many as 15 different departments in Rhode Island and Massachusetts assisted in knocking down the blaze at the former Alice Mills Rubber Manufacturing Plant in Woonsocket.