Major Rowan County Landmark
A FIVE-STORY FORMER FLOUR and FEED MILL in Salisbury, North Carolina, burned down Wednesday night / Thursday morning in a 5-alarm blaze that kept at least eight Rowan County fire departments busy all night. Many units are still on the scene as this article is being posted mopping up the numerous spot fires remaining.
The Grimes Mill has been occupied for the past 30 years by the Historic Salisbury Foundation who operated a vibrant museum as well as a community center in the 117-yr.-old landmark.
Dispatchers said that the first 911 call came in around 9:40 p.m. and crews arrived to find the building–built in 1896–fully engulfed. The five-story building has been owned by the Historic Salisbury Foundation since 1982 and hosted several events throughout the year as well as tours.
"It's a very historic structure for our community," said Salisbury spokeswoman Elaney Hasselmann. "It is one of the oldest Victorian structures in the state of this magnitude. We have a very active historic society here…and they do great things in our community for history preservation," Hasselman added. "This is one of their gems."
Salisbury Post / Fisher
The Salisbury Post adds:
Doug Black, vice president of the Historic Salisbury Foundation, said he and volunteers had been working at the mill until about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. They were preparing for school tours that were expected to start in the coming months. "When we left, everything was turned off, everything was locked up," said Black, watching as ladder trucks slowly doused the flames.
Asked whether a trespasser might have started the fire, Black said there had been problems with vagrants in Grimes Mill in the past, "but not for months now, maybe as long as a year. We just hope no one was hurt," Black said.
Although flour dust can be very flammable when airborne, Black said there was not enough flour residue left inside after 30 years to start a fire. "We always told the fire department, if ever there is a blaze, don’t go in. It’s kindling."
Nearby, foundation treasurer Ed Clement looked on, sorrowful. "A lot of history lost," Clement said. "There was still original, working machinery in there."
The Grimes Mill prior to yesterday. (MillPictures.com photo)
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