Still no cause listed for October mill fire, but cleanup continues

Still no cause listed for October mill fire, but cleanup continues

Workers from J.R. Vinagro Corp. work on asbestos abatement at the former Lonsdale Bleachery Mill last week as part of clean-up projects that have been ongoing since the building caught fire in October. A cause has still yet to be determined. (Valley Breeze photo by Meghan Kavanaugh)

LINCOLN - The cause of the blaze that destroyed part of the former Lonsdale Bleachery mill building on Halloween night is still undetermined and under investigation, state fire marshals said last week.

Meanwhile, crews continue to clear the area of debris and rubble while abating asbestos found inside the brick structure that was vacant when it caught fire on Oct. 31, resulting in a six-alarm fire fought by dozens of firefighters from Lincoln and neighboring communities.

State Fire Marshal Chief Deputy Richard James said mill fires' large size and amount of damage tends to require more time to investigate and attempt to determine a cause.

Ongoing cleanup projects at the 25 Carrington Ave. site owned by Primary Properties, a subsidary of the Procaccianti Group of Cranston, were approved by the state's Department of Management and Department of Health, said Lincoln Building Official Roger Pierce, adding that what comes next is "complicated" because of the historic building's location in a flood plain.

He said the plan is, "at the very least," to rebuild the section of the mill that burned down, and architects and engineers are studying the site. Other areas of the building not affected have been back in operation.

The area has been fenced off in recent weeks as J.R. Vinagro Corp. completes abatement work of the approximately 10,000 cubic feet of material contaminated by asbestos, said Joseph Wendelken at the Department of Health, including floor tiles and window caulking.

He said special considerations have been taken, when needed, to prevent the asbestos from making its way to the adjacent Blackstone River.

"The building collapsed straight down onto the first floor concrete slab, so its proximity to the water is not a major issue," Wendelken said. "However, the contractor is using station barriers around the site to prevent run-off when they are wetting down contaminated material."

The abatement plan was designed by Alliance Environmental Group Inc.