Fire at Draper Mill
HOPEDALE -- Firefighters from six towns successfully contained the smoldering interior
of the oldest section of the historic Draper Mill yesterday afternoon, after contractors
were unable to contain the sparks resulting from workers sawing a pipe.
"Using a cutting saw, you can create sparks," Fire Chief Scott Garland said. "They
couldn't control it." [A report on WMRC a day or two later said that the workers tried to
put out the fire themselves and didn't call the fire department for a half hour.)
Hopedale, Mendon and Upton firefighters responded to a 2:16 p.m. call for smoke
coming out of the third floor of the Freedom Street mill.
Hopedale firefighter Michael Malnati was treated at Milford Regional Medical Center
for minor eye injuries from falling debris, Garland said. No other injuries were
"It was smoldering on arrival," said Garland, noting the smoky area was in the oldest
section of the abandoned mill, built in 1888.
Bellingham, Milford and Uxbridge firefighters were called for backup. In all, 30
firefighters spent hours containing the smoke and releasing it through the windows,
removing charred debris from the second and third floors, and wetting down the
The 1.2 million-square-foot mill has been abandoned since 1980 and in serious
disrepair from being unheated since 1990, Garland said.
Hopedale Properties LLC, which owns the mill, has been doing remediation work to
better market the building, Garland said.
Yesterday's incident stemmed from contractors sawing copper pipe with the intent of
salvaging it, according to Garland.
Garland said smoke filled roughly 40 feet of the third floor after the pipes sparked, and
spread to another 40 feet below after burning a hole in the floor. By Danielle
Williamson, Milford Daily News, June 14, 2006.
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