Cotton Mill Destroyed by Fire
The structure, which dated back to 1897, had been abandoned and in derelict condition for many years. Nothing was stored in the building.
The General Western Cotton Mill in east Douglasville at 6398 E. Broad St. (Bankhead Highway) was destroyed by fire early this morning.
The structure, which dated back to 1897, had been abandoned and in derelict condition for many years, with the property surrounding the mill grown up with vegetation. Nothing was stored in the building.
Douglas County E911 received the call at 12:07 a.m., and Douglas County Fire/EMS were on the scene in two minutes. They found the structure engulfed in fire with flames showing through the roof.
Because of the dilapidated condition of the building, and the presence of numerous old timbers with creosote (high flammability), the Fire Department decided to allow the engulfed structure to burn itself out, and proceeded to protect surrounding properties, none of which was ever in danger.
There were no injuries at the fire scene.
The mill faces Bankhead Highway and the parallel Norfolk Southern Railway, and both were shut down due to smoke and fire embers blowing northward.
Norfolk Southern reopened its rail line at 2:35 a.m., but trains traveling this area are under a 25-mph speed limit until further notice.
Bankhead Highway is closed between Durelee Lane and Brown Street and will remain closed until at least daybreak because of heavy smoke.
The fire continues to burn and most likely will burn throughout most of today. Douglas County Fire/EMS will remain on site.
The Douglas County Fire/EMS investigator stated that the fire looked “suspicious” because there was no electrical power in the mill and no external fire sources, such as lightning, in the area at the time the fire started. Because of the heat and continuing fire and the instability of remaining mill walls, it may be early next week before fire investigators will have access to the site.