CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Flames tore through at least eight mill buildings in both Central Falls and Pawtucket early Saturday morning, lighting up the night sky and displacing hundreds of residents in both communities.
The building is located on Rand Street, near the Pawtucket border. An Eyewitness News crew arrived on scene around 3 a.m. and saw heavy flames and smoke pouring from the roof of the partially collapsed building. The flames were visible from as far as I-195 West prior to the Braga Bridge.
By daylight, the buildings were mostly reduced to charred rubble, with only bits and pieces of the structures’ frames still standing.
Parts of Dexter, Barton and Weeden Streets were shut down and evacuated, according to Pawtucket Fire Chief Bill Sisson.
No one was injured, however, more than 200 residents in two nearby apartment complexes were displaced after crews cut water and electricity to the buildings.
“We were using every possible water supply that we could find,” Central Falls Fire Chief Robert Bradley said. “There were hose lines across Dexter Street, which made it very unsafe for people to go by.”
Bradley estimated that nearly 250 firefighters responded to the scene from stations as far away as Westerly
It’s unclear at this time what caused the fire, but the state fire marshal has been called in to investigate.
The heat from the fire was strong enough to be picked up by National Weather Service Boston’s infrared channel.
Kait Walsh, Pete Mangione, Carl Sisson and Caroline Goggin contributed to this report.