Upstate mill fire burns for over 11 hours

Source: WYFF
Source: WYFF

PICKENS, SC (WYFF) - Firefighters battled a fire at an old mill in Pickens late Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.

The fire started at the old Brunswick Yarn mill on City View Circle near Highway 178 just after 9 p.m.

A passer-by made the initial call to 911 that smoke was coming out of the building, according to Chris Elrod with the Pickens Fire Department.

Not long after firefighters arrived and started fighting the flames, the roof collapsed, Elrod said.

That forced firefighters to evacuate the building and attack the flames from the outside using ladder trucks.

Elrod said the mill has many compartments, some of which are used for storage, another area is used as a flea market. He said that's the area where the fire burned.

Elrod said the biggest concern is always firefighter safety, and a crew of 60 was working this fire. But firefighters also had to contend with a water problem.

"Since the mill has been out of operation, all the hydrants around the mill have been shut down, except for one city hydrant right in front.," Elrod said. "We've been able to utilize it, but we've completely tapped its resources," he said.

That forced firefighters to set up a shuttle operation, using six tankers to supply water from hydrants in other parts of the city, according to Elrod. At times, the tankers were lined up like airplanes on a runway.

Firefighters remained in a defensive mode Wednesday morning, trying to save as much of the building as possible, though Elrod said the roof collapse proves the building is no longer structurally sound.

Elrod said he anticipated fire crews to stay out at the scene for the day, cleaning up and watching out for hot spots.

He asked drivers to avoid the area, in order to keep the surrounding roads clear for fire vehicles.

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The old building is up on a hill, and the fire can be seen and smelled from miles away.