Lawrence mill fire under investigation

Posted: 01/14/14 at 11:10 am EST      Last Updated: 01/14/14 at 12:35 pm EST

LAWRENCE, Mass. (WHDH) -- Sky7HD was over the flames in Lawrence Monday while an abandoned paper mill burned for the third time in the past five years.

“There was just a little bit of smoke just in one corner of the building. We started to see a little bit of flames and then the whole building just took over with flames. The smoke was everywhere, just dark, dark clouds of it. It was really overwhelming,” said one woman.

Investigators are trying to figure out what started the six-alarm fire. There is no operation in the building, no utilities and no readily sourced heat or electricity, so the question remains what could have caused a fire.

State troopers from the arson squad and the fire marshal's office on the scene with specially trained dogs that will be sniffing for accelerants.

The abandoned paper mill building is close to 100 years old. What was left inside made fighting the fire tough.

Kevin blaze - a retired firefighter - knows what was probably fueling the flames.

“Well the problem you will probably find with some of these, is there are a lot of materials in there that are combustible, a lot of oil-soaked floors. There are a lot of things that are not up to the modern codes,” said Kevin Blaze, retired firefighter.

Fortunately, no one was inside, and no one got hurt.

The fire was so intense that firefighters could only attack it from the outside.

This is the third time since 2009 the building caught fire. It was deemed unsafe and scheduled to be knocked down.

“Oh for many years, yeah. Both a plan on paper and just guys knowing that eventually this is going to happen,” said Chief John Marsh, Lawrence Fire Department.

It’s unclear why the building was never knocked down in the first place, but the mayor is investigating.

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