Avondale Mills Fire - Part 1
Pell City Fire Department
Avondale Mills, which at one time was one of the largest employers in the Pell City area, was in the process of being dismantled Thursday when a huge fire brought the building on the National Registry of Historic Places down quicker than expected.
Firefighters from all over the region battled the blaze, which took several hours to bring under control. There is no way to know how many lives or how much property was saved because of the quick response from Pell City and the cooperation of surrounding departments. Great team work!
From the Birmingham News:
[Pell City Mayor Adam] Stocks said the blaze was probably the biggest in Pell City in 50 years.
"There was a lot of history and sentiment in this building," the mayor said. "It was coming down regardless, but it's a sad way to see it come to an end."
Pell City Fire Chief Mike Sewell said workers inside the building - using the torches to cut duct work as they removed beams - were unaware it was on fire until a passerby noticed smoke.
About 35 firefighters responded and quickly switched from offensive mode to defensive mode when one of the interior walls on the building's northeast side collapsed. Sewell said he's not sure how many workers were inside, but said none was injured and they escaped quickly.
"They came running out of there like rats," Sewell said.
Thunder Enterprises had already dismantled about half of the roughly 600,000-square-foot building, Sewell said.
Though the fire was under control by 2 p.m., the fire chief said firefighters would remain on the scene at least through today to put out any hot spots. "It will be a long, tedious process," Sewell said.
Thursday's pleasant weather made the firefighters' job easier, Sewell said. No one had to be evacuated from nearby homes or business.
"The good Lord giving us no wind at the time is what helped us," he said. (Full Story)
The following pictures are from Chris Capps, a firefighter with Birmingham Fire & Rescue. Thank you, Chris, for sharing these great pictures!
Pictures from Part 2