Norton fire officials asking for public’s help in finding cause of vacant brick mill building fire

Norton fire officials asking for public’s help in finding cause of vacant brick mill building fire

NORTON, Mass. — Fire officials are asking for the public’s help in figuring out what was the cause of a fire that tore through a vacant brick mill building fire on Wednesday.

Norton Fire Chief Shawn Simmons and State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey are asking the public to come forward with any information they may have on the 5-alarm fire.

“Someone knows whether the fire was intentionally set or accidentally set by people who were not authorized to be inside," said Simmons. “Anyone with information is asked to confidentially call the Arson Hotline at 1-800-682-9229 or Norton Police Detectives at 508-285-3327.”

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The fire began at 5 p.m. and continued to rage for a couple of hours before firefighters could get a handle on it.

Heavy smoke could be seen billowing from the mill, as flames climbed through second-floor windows of the building, which suffered extensive damage in the fire.

Police closed off the road near the building as crews responded.

It was a large building – one report has it at about 100,000 square feet. Not much was inside the building so what burned was the floors and any structure that was flammable.

Firefighters had a tough time getting water to fight the fire. Hydrants out back were disconnected a long time ago, according to Simmons. Hoses had to be dragged from hydrants on the street out front.

“All calls to the Arson Hotline are confidential and can be used to provide information on all fires, whether or not they were intentionally set,” said Ostroskey.

The hotline is part of the Arson Watch Reward Program that provides rewards of up to $5,000 for information that helps to solve the case, regardless of the cause. The program is sponsored by the property and casualty insurance companies of Massachusetts.

The fire remains under investigation.