Multiple fire departments were on the scene of a large fire at an old mill building in Vernon that forced 10 to 15 homes to evacuate due to heat on Monday morning.
The Vernon Police Department responded to Brooklyn Street right before 2 a.m. Monday. Fire personnel fought the fire from the outside as flames came out of one of the sides of the building, Vernon Police Lt. Robert Marra told reporters Monday.
Police evacuated several homes across the street due to the heat. Some of the homes were damaged, Marra said. Police have been in contact with the American Red Cross to assist displaced families.
The Red Cross said it opened a warming center at Rockville General Hospital on Union Street for affected families. The center will provide water, snacks, charging outlets and resources for families.
The fire was placed under control around 6 a.m., Marra said Monday afternoon. Fire crews were still putting out hotspots in the building after 12:30 p.m. Monday, he said.
The interior portion of the building collapsed during the fire. Crews were searching through the rubble Monday while they investigated the blaze, according to Marra.
No injuries were reported in the fire, but emergency services were on standby, Marra said.
Marra said there is a welding shop located in the building. Marra said there used to be a furniture storage facility in the building, but he was unsure if there was any furniture remaining.
The building was first built in 1893 by the J.J. Regan company, which manufactured textiles, according to David Owens, communications specialist for the town of Vernon. The building then housed a greeting card manufacturer, followed by a baseball manufacturer and finally a furniture storage facility before being sold to an LLC in 2020, Owens said.
The building was not a part of the apartment conversation project in town, he said. Those buildings are further east up the Hockanum River.
Marra said the conditions were “extremely dangerous” to work in, between the size and heat of the fire, cold weather and slippery roads.
Brooklyn Street and Vernon Avenue were shut down due to the fire, Marra said. Some school bus routes were diverted Monday, too.
He warned residents there may be a decrease in water pressure in the area because of the high demand for water the fire required.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. The Fire Marshal’s Office was at the scene to investigate, Marra said.
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