By: Dorothy Sherman
Opelika, AL-Alabama State Fire Marshal and the Opelika Fire Department took to the skies this Thursday morning to take aerial photographs of the Pepperell Mill. Pictures that will be used in their investigation into the Pepperell Mill fire, which continues to burn today.
"We're going to start pushing some of these walls in to get inside to start to extinguish some of these, what we call hot spots and these are spots that are burning up under the debris that we cannot get to at this time", said Opelika Assistant Fire Chief Byron Prather. Officials say part of the reason why the old textile mill continues to burn is because of hot spots on the four-inch pine hard wood floors. Floors that have been permeated by oil and grease used to oil machinery in the building over the past one-hundred years.
"When something like this catches on fire it burns very rapidly and very hot and so that adds to the complication of extinguishing the fire", said Prather.
There were big plans for the Pepperell Mill. They were going to build high-end loft apartments, and this whole area would be known as the Pride of Pepperell.
"its going to be several months claiming and cleaning everything up, but that's just a process we'll have to get started, said property owner, Roy Granger.
Granger also said the Pride of Pepperell would have probably broken ground in just six months, if it wasn't for the fire he said probably could have been prevented.
"Everyone feels like, it, was probably a spark from a demolition saw", said Granger.
But as for what really started the fire, both Granger and Opelika Assistant Fire Chief Prather said they won't know for sure what happened until the investigation is complete. Officials said they'll know more details on the fire once it's been completely put out. Prather said They could be fighting the fire for the next couple days.
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