TALLASSEE, AL -- A piece of this city's history vanished Friday in a morning blaze at the old Tallassee Mill warehouse, which used to store military equipment all the way back to the Civil War.
No one was injured in the fire, but six boats and some tools that were stored in the warehouse were destroyed. Mark Geissinger, who operated a boat restoration business in the warehouse, estimated the value of the items at $500,000.
Upon arrival the mill was found to be fully involved with fire. Approximately 3 minutes after arriving on scene, Command reported building collapse leaving the firefighters no chance to saving the structure.
The fire was a 2 alarm fire which consisted of the Tallassee Fire Department and Friendship Fire Departments on the first alarm and when the fire was upgraded to a second alarm, members of the Reeltown and Redland Fire Departments responded.
A total of 28 Firefighters and 7 fire apparatus were used to fight the fire.
Firefighters used a 110 ft aerial platform, 2 portable deck guns, and multiple hand lines to battle the blaze and protect exposures.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, said Tallassee Fire Chief Matt Missildine, whose firefighters fought the fire for about 90 minutes before containing it.
Luckily, the nearby mill and Civil War Armory, located on the banks of the Tallapoosa River, was spared, said city historian Bill Goss.
"It was devastating because it was historic because of its age," Goss said of the 119-year-old warehouse. "I got down there at 9 a.m. and it was well engulfed."
By 3pm, smoke continued to rise from the building's charred remains, and several curious onlookers stood on a nearby hill to survey the loss.
Bill Goss, a historian with The Tallassee Historical Preservation Society said the building was used to store everything from yarn and heavy cotton to cotton supplies for the military during the Civil War and World War I.
In the 1980s, the Tallassee Mills closed and owners moved operations across the river to another mill, which closed a few months ago.