Swift Mill added to list of historic mill fires - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Swift Mill added to list of historic mill fires

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Fire investigators were still on the scene of the Swift Mill fire Tuesday trying to determine where and how the fire stated.

Saturday night's blaze has now earned its way in to the history books as one of the largest structure fires in Columbus.

Saturday night's fire at the Swift Mill marks the third major fire at a historic building in Columbus in the last six years.

The first happened on October 23rd, 2005 at Jordan Mill. The blazes caused an estimated $2 million in damage to the abandoned building. Two years after the fire, there was a break in the investigation when fire officials names two suspects in the arson, Paula Coultes and Frederick Bryant. They were sentenced by a federal judge to serve prison time and pay restitution for their roles in the fire.

In 2007 Columbus Arson Investigator Darryl Bryant told News Leader Nine, "We thought it may have been vagrants because we didn't have any other leads and once we got a lead from more information we made a combined effort and followed the leads until we came to a conclusion."

The next fire happened on October 30th, 2008 at the Bibb Mill, but the exact cause of that fire has still not been determined, although officials were looking for a homeless man as a person of interest.

"The investigation is still open. That investigation of the fire will remain open until we can determine with a great deal of confidence, exactly what happened at the mill," said Chief Jeff Meyer in a previous interview.

Then three years later, on November 5th, 2011 the Swift Mill was engulfed in flames and added to the list of massive fires in the city.

The Federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms is working with the Columbus Fire department to conduct interviews and review video of the fire to determine a cause. Their investigation could take months before anything is determined.

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