COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – At least 50 firefighters were battling a blazing fire at the old Swift Mill at the corner of Sixth Avenue most of the night.
Columbus Fire & EMS responded to the fire just after 6 pm late Saturday afternoon. Twelve units responded to the fire as well as a platform unit from Phenix City who was called in to help battle the fire.
Columbus Fire Marshall Ricky Shores says the most difficult part was fighting the fire against the wind which carried the smoke. A thick cloud of black smoke covered downtown Columbus and could be seen from miles away.
Piece by piece, structures from the old Swift Mill collapsed to the ground, eventually the entire front of the building crashed down onto Sixth Avenue. Because of debris filling the streets, officials ask the public to stay away from the area and blocked several roads.
The north side of the complex near Columbus Regional was not burned.
This is the third historic mill to burn in Columbus in past six years:
Jordan Mill - October 2005
Bibb City Mill - October 2008
Swift Textiles - November 2011
Swift was a denim mill, they made the material used to make jeans. The mill was operable about 15 years ago. News Leader Nine learned that inside were regular materials and the building was currently used mostly for storage.
Shores says that the fire is being contained and has not spread to any of the other surrounding buildings however crews will likely work through the morning to fully extinguish the fire.
There are no reported injuries at this time.
News Leader 9 will continue following this story. We'll have the latest information as soon as it becomes available.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 11:46 PM EDT2013-05-23 03:46:56 GMT
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