12:00 PM — Tallassee Police Chief Jimmy Rogers says it will take several days before the wreckage of a Tallassee, Alabama textile mill is cool enough for an investigation to begin.
Rogers says the Mount Vernon Cotton Mill had been experiencing issues of vandalism since its closing. He says people have been breaking in to spray paint the walls and steal metal parts from the buildings.
Rogers also says the buildings had been in various levels of deconstruction. The company that owned the building only had it for a week before the fire started. The company bought the mill from the previous owner working on its deconstruction.
When asked if the companies were under suspicion for arson, Chief Jones says “we are pursuing all avenues of investigation.”
TALLASSEE, AL – Fire marshals are investigating the cause of a massive fire that destroyed a historic Alabama textile mill. Tallassee fire crews are still on the scene where Mount Vernon Cotton Mill once stood searching the 4-story wreckage for hot spots.
Tallassee Fire Chief Travis Jones confirms no one was injured. He says heat and smoke risks from the sizable blaze prompted fire crews to ask families in 10 nearby homes to evacuate. He says all residents are now allowed to go back inside.
Fire crews were called to the mill just after 11 p.m..
Local media reports more than 100 firefighters were on the scene and brought the fire under control just after dawn Thursday morning. Fire crews say they were not able to save the building, which is said to have been the only confederate mill to survive the Civil War.
Tallassee police say they are investigating the cause of the fire. They also say the fire was “suspicious” since the mill was empty and there had been past incidents of vandalism.
The mill has been standing in Tallassee since 1841 and was in the process of being torn down. The property has been vacant since 2005.