FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — A firefighter was injured while battling a massive fire inside of a Fall River mill building early Monday morning.
The fire broke out inside the Stafford Mill shortly after midnight.
Mutual aid was called to help with the battle and firefighters were able to knock down the flames by 4 a.m. Crews then spent the remainder of the day putting out hot spots throughout the building.
Fall River Fire Chief John Lynch said the flames spread throughout all five floors of the building and the roof partially collapsed.
“There were flames shooting out of three windows, heavy flames, so we were fortunate we were able to get some ladder trucks over there and get some engine companies there and they were able to knock it down and contain it,” Lynch said.
Lynch said the injured firefighter was taken to the hospital after injuring his ankle while climbing the stairs inside the building.
He also said the firefighter works for the Seekonk Fire Department and was part of the crews who responded for mutual aid.
Around the same time, a fire broke out at a triple-decker on Tremont Street, which is nearly a mile away from the mill.
Lynch said between both fires, the department’s resources were stretched to the limit.
“We tried to get as many as possible because not only do we have two fires going but we have a large mill fire and in addition to that, we have to man the rest of the city,” Lynch said. “Basically these two fires stripped us of all our forces.”
Mayor Paul Coogan called it the “best situation for a mill fire in Fall River.”
“If you’ve ever seen a big mill fire in Fall River, they are not like this,” Coogan said. “This was contained in one corner of the roof of the building they did not a good job, but a great job and the mutual aid pact worked with other towns coming to help us and they are going to keep on top of it now until its completely out.”
Police tell Eyewitness News the mill houses some businesses, including a clothing business, and is also used for storage.
A man who works in the mill said the building is occupied by River Falls Manufacturing Corporation, which is a clothing distributor for high-end retailers.
He tells Eyewitness News it’s a good thing the fire broke out where it did, because even though there is clothing stored there, on the other side there are coats worth thousands of dollars.
Coogan said the city’s economic development team will work with the business affected to get them back on their feet.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Lynch said the surrounding roads will be closed for the remainder of the day.