Former Woolen Mills Building Burns in Utah

BRIGHAM CITY -- A five-alarm fire broke out Sunday evening near 500 East 56 N., at the Baron Woolen Mills.

Around 9 p.m. fire crews from Brigham City, Willard, Corinne and Honeyville responded to the structural fire.

Brigham City spokesman Rick Bosworth said it is unknown at this point how the fire started and what caused it to burn so quickly.

“When (fire crews) arrived there was a tin building to the south of the main building that was engulfed,” he said.

By 11:30 p.m., four separate agencies had worked to douse the fire and contain it.

“The fire is out, for the most part,” Bosworth said. “They are knocking down hot spots.”

There were no reported injuries in the fire. An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.

About 100 people, including the Brigham City mayor, Tyler Vincent, and previous mill owner, Dale Baron, gathered nearby to watch on the lawn across the street from the building.

"It saddens me simply because this is an icon for our city,” said the mayor, who recalls walking past the building as a schoolboy. “We have several old businesses that were family owned and when we see this kind of thing, it’s very disheartening. We hate to see businesses that have been here for years and years burn and this business is no exception.”

Dale Baron, the fourth generation owner, stared at the building his father passed on to him and two brothers in 1946.

“Our employees were the ones who saved the mill,” Baron said. “They stayed with us.”

Bosworth said the Barons had plans to tear it down eventually. The building used to be a manufacturing plant for making wool blankets, but hasn’t been in use for a while.

The mill, established in 1870, produced 30,000 woolen blankets on an average year, with a crew of 20-25 steady employees.

The Baron building caught fire in 1877, but rebuilt the following year. It again burnt to the ground in 1907. The roof then caught fire in 1948. “Dad spent all his money rebuliding it, just for us. He then died, but it was a good business for us. It employed a lot of Brigham people,” Baron said.

The Baron brothers sold the building in 1988.

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©2014 the Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah)

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