Massachusetts Firefighters Battle Mill Fire

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) -- A general alarm fire late Thursday sent firefighters to a largely vacant mill complex.

The fire at the junction of Belleville Avenue and Sawyer Street is known as the Fairhaven Mills complex. The fire, which broke out around 10 p.m., was centered in the top two floors of the four-story building.

``The fourth floor is pretty much gone, and the third floor is also heavily damaged,'' said firefighter Bob Lopes.

By 11:30 p.m., the fire was considered ``contained,'' Lopes said. ``But there are still a number of hot spots.''

There were no reports of injuries, he said. Cause of the blaze had not been determined.

The city's entire compliment of six engines and three ladder companies were on the scene through the night. Firefighters from Dartmouth were also on sight to provide support, while companies from Achushnett, Fairhaven and Freetown were manning the city's firehouses, Lopes said.

The building is largely empty but contains some retail and storage space, according to the New Bedford fire department.

Firefighters at the scene said the building sits had no electricity or sprinkler system, The Standard-Times of New Bedford reported. The deserted structure is often lived in by squatters who cook meals on small grills, the firefighters said, adding they were trying to determine if anyone had been inside the building when it caught fire.