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
    reported.      

      "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
    debris.     

      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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