Sunday, October 30, 2011 Ashaway, Rhode Island

Ashaway General Alarm (4) Mill Fire

Around 11:30 on Sunday night the Hopkinton public safety office received a call from a worker reporting smoke in the Thames River Tube Mill located at 64 High Street (Route 216) in the Ashaway District. The Ashaway fire chief arrived and reported a light smoke condition from the two story wooden 100x300 mill building as volunteers responded to the station located less than a mile away at Route 3 & Route 216 for the apparatus. Engine 414 arrived and began an interior attack on a fire believed to be in the office area but were evacuated shortly thereafter as heavy fire conditions towards the rear of the building lit up the night sky. Due to the rural area and no hydrants in the district four alarms and several tanker task forces were requested in quick succession through Southern Fire Control. Fire took hold of the entire wooden portion of the building sending brands towards numerous exposures and additional special calls were made. Eighteen to twenty tankers were dispatched from the surrounding Rhode Island & Connecticut area some from over forty-five minutes away while two water holes were established to fill the incoming tankers. Members drafted from the Ashaway River at Laurel Street & High Street and used the water tank at the Hopkington Industrial Park additionally firefighters also drafted from the river in the rear of the fire building to maintain a water supply for suppression efforts. Over 150 Firefighters from Ashaway, Bradford, Westerly, Dunns Corners, Exeter, West Greenwich, Coventry, South Kingstown, Hope Valley/Wyoming, Richmond/Carolina, Stonington, North Stonington, Groton, Ashaway EMS, Charlestown EMS & Westerly EMS worked for hours in a exterior operation. Hope Valley Ladder One & Dunns Corners Tower Ladder 5 flowed water along with two deck guns and several big lines which contained the fire within three hours, firefighters utilized a interior operation in the cinder block section saving that portion of the complex. Members remained on scene well into Monday containing hot spots and investigating the cause. Two Firefighters received injuries of unknown extent. The 160 year old town landmark which was rebuilt after burning down in 1848 was heavily damaged and will be demolished. RIDOT was requested to sand the roadway as due to the historically cold October weather.

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