Massive R.I. Mill Blaze Lends Eerie Glow on Halloween

LINCOLN — Raging flames enveloped an old mill building on Carrington Street Thursday evening, lending a Halloween glow to the sky.

The entire, multistory structure was wrapped in fire soon after the alarm was sounded around 5 p.m. Flames blew through the roof of the old brick structure, which took on the aspect of an intricate jack-o’-lantern as the bright light gleamed from its neat rows of windows.

Fire officials called in six alarms and summoned assistance from surrounding communities. Fire trucks came from as far as Millville, Mass. No injuries were reported immediately.

The building was said to be vacant. Its identity was a mystery. None of the many spectators and officials who were kept well back by police lines seemed to know its name.

But when called, Town Council President Keith E. Macksoud checked town redevelopment records and identified it as the Dry Can Building, built in 1903 and part of a bleachery complex. He said a 2005 report showed that the structure was vacant and was owned by FDS Industries.

The fire could be seen from some distance, and it drew spectators, many of them in costume or makeup. They gaped at the spectacle amid the roar of fire engine diesels and the blinding orchestra of red and blue emergency lights.

Trick-or-treaters and their parents also found a good spot to view the action by walking down a pitch-black bike path that ran adjacent to the mill property. Watchers also found convenient parking in a nearby shopping center.

The fire sent up a tower of smoke lit from below. Wind carried the smoke across the shopping center’s parking lot, where a fog-like atmosphere soon prevailed.

Cascades of sparks ascended and drifted into woodlands close by. They did no harm however, for the ground was wet from a light drizzle.

The police blocked off several streets in the area, causing traffic backups.

The fire was under control by 7:15 p.m., and some of the out-of-town fire trucks began to withdraw.

Bystander Paul Borrelli said he owns an adjacent warehouse that contains supplies for his business, Borrelli Entertainment Services. He said he did not think the fire had affected his own business.

“I got a call from a client who asked me if I still had my warehouse,” he related. “He said I should get down here because there was a huge fire.”

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