Updated: 7:05 p.m., June 2
Closed roads surrounding Somersville Mill may be open by midnight, according to Somers Fire Department Deputy Chief Frank Falcone.
Falcone said that crews will focus on extinguishing the final hotspots of the fire, as well as tearing down the dangerous portions of the structure that are near the roadway, in order to safely reopen the streets.
A crowd of locals have gathered to watch the firefighters work and to discuss the loss of the historic mill.
"It's very sad," said Somers resident Todd Tisdale of the town's recent run of major fires. "It's very suspicious when two things like that would happen so close together," he added, referring to the in January.
Falcone said that state police are still investigating the cause of the Somersville Mill fire.
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Updated: 10:30 a.m., June 2
The historic Somersville Mill in the Somersville section of Somers has been ravaged by fire and is a total loss.
The state fire marshal is on the scene, working with the Somers fire marshal, conducting an investigation to try to determine the cause.
At 2:20 a.m. on Saturday, a call came in for a possible structure fire at the mill and Chief Gary Schiessl was first on the scene. What he found was an extensive fire coming from the center of the building on the top couple of floors.
He said he realized right away, like the , that this was going to be a defensive operation.
“There’s just no way you’re going to stop something like that,” he said.
By the time the first trucks were arriving, there was extensive fire across the entire front of the building. Schiessl said the main concerns were exposure, with two large buildings, the other mill on the other side, and then off Quality Avenue, a brick building that used to be part of mill complex that now has businesses in it.
“We wanted to make sure that we saved that,” he said. “We sent a lot of people down Quality to cover that.”
Schiessl said that he believes that some homes were initially evacuated.
Some of the main concerns were proximity to the road, collapse zones, and the electrical wires that are everywhere you look through that intersection. Schiessl said that CL&P was called and power was cut, though it took a bit of time to shut down power to so many different areas.
The firefighters got water on the fire quickly, but Schiessl said that with a fire of this magnitude, you can’t have enough water.
“We started drawing down the hydrant system and that’s why we have two trucks in the pond as well as the hydrants,” he said.
Typical mutual aid was called, as well as an extra tower truck – that came from East Longmeadow – and task force teams from Tolland and Hartford counties.
“We didn’t do much with Hartford County folks except Enfield, but it was nice to have them here just in case,” Schiessl said. “Most of it has been surround and drown so the guys haven’t been getting overexerted.”
He said that there have been no injuries to this point and he hopes to keep it that way.
The Scantic River runs directly under the building in two large tunnels and Schiessl said that it is believed that some debris has fallen into the river. He said that the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has been to the scene, reviewed the situation, and will be back again to make sure that there is no significant contamination.
Power is still out in the building and Schiessl said that there were some wires that started to come down so before power goes back on, they are going to make sure that everything is safe from that perspective.
Heavy equipment will also be brought in at some point to tear down the building.
“We cannot open the road until that wall is down,”Schiessl said. “There’s too much of a collapse possibility.”
Original Story: 6:30 a.m., June 2
Firefighters from Somers, and several other departments, have been battling a blaze at the Somersville Mill since early this morning.
Somers First Selectwoman Lisa Pelligrini said that local and state agencies are on the scene, and have been since the early morning hours.
She wants residents to be aware that roads in the area will be blocked off and traffic will be diverted as
Check back with Ellington-Somers Patch for updates.