Fire at former factory expected to burn all night - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

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Fire at former factory expected to burn all night

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Smoke continued to billow in the paper city hours after a two-alarm fire broke out at 18 Water Street.

Multiple crews from the surrounding towns of South Hadley, Easthampton, Chicopee and Westover remained vigilant on scene. Piles of flammable wood and debris inside the centuries Old Mount Tom Division Mill will keep firefighters working throughout the night.

"The guys will be here all night and into tomorrow, I'm sure by the looks of things. A lot of this old timber wood is oil soaked from years in the factory and it'll burn for a while," said Lt. Tom Paquin with the Holyoke Fire Department.

Earlier in the day a state police helicopter circled over head, surveying the extent of the fire that could be seen down the road as smoke and flames billowed out of the roof of the old mill.

According to officials, a crew had been inside the building dismantling it piece by piece. They told officials as they left for the day around 4 p.m. all was well. Minutes later flames shot through.

"The building out back I was just watching it the whole time and about 10 minutes after that it was just completely up in flames," said Holyoke resident, Brendan Collamore.

Officials said sending firefighters into the burning mill was not an option.

"The whole fire department is in defensive mode because of the structural instability of the building," said Lt. Paquin.

Crews pulled water from the canal as they battled the blaze that reminded many of the onlookers of another historic Holyoke building reduced to rubble by a fire.

"I did see the one at the Parson's paper factory it was probably one of the biggest fires I've ever seen in Holyoke. It was unbelievable, the whole thing was on fire," said Collamore.

The fire at Parson's Paper Mill on Sargeant Street was just blocks away from Thursday's blaze.

That fire was set intentionally in June 2008. And just like the mill on fire today, it burned with ease because of the combustible nature of the debris inside.

Holyoke residents now hope Thursday's fire was not intentional as another piece of Holyoke history goes up in flames.

"It's just a shame to see these old mills going up in flames, it's just a sad thing," said Holyoke resident, Halldor Hildigunnarsson.

At this point officials say that they are looking into the possibility that this fire is accidental.

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