Fire in Vacant Building Injures Mass. Firefighters

July 03--LAWRENCE -- A 2-alarm fire heavily damaged a vacant mill building near Canal and Union streets last night.

Two firefighters were injured, according to interim fire Chief John Marsh. One was taken to Lawrence General Hospital for treatment of a knee injury while the other suffered heat exhaustion and recovered in a mobile rehabilitation unit, Marsh said.

Firefighters battled the blaze under hot and humid conditions. The first alarm sounded at 9:01 p.m., with the second issued a few minutes later.

The 2 1/2-story, red brick building was "fully involved," with flames shooting as high as 50 to 100 feet into the air when the first firefighters arrived, Capt. Frank Martin said.

"They did an excellent, excellent, excellent job of saving 216 Canal St. and 4 Union St," Martin said. The structure where the fire broke out is behind 216 Canal St., the former Pemberton Mill, and the former Ippolito Furniture building at 4 Union St.

Iron Mountain, a data storage company, currently owns 216 Canal St. Marsh noted the city wants to redevelop the Ippolito building.

Firefighters attacked the flames from several angles. Ladder 1 poured water from a spot between the burning structure and 216 Canal St. Ladder 4, positioned on the other side of the building on Union Street, was in a strategic position to wet down either the Pemberton Mill or the Ippolito building, Marsh pointed out.

Firefighters laid several hundred feet of hose across a bridge that crosses the North Canal near the fire scene. Marsh said nearby hydrants provided adequate water pressure.

The origin of the fire is being investigated.

About a half hour after the mill fire was under control, firefighters were dispatched to 10 Embankment Road, about two blocks away for another fire. No information was available on that blaze although it was "knocked down" in a matter of minutes.

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