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Recollections of the Old Red MIll Fire

November 8,1961

Herbert Montgomery

     The store remodeling was almost complete when fire broke out early one morning. It was a school day, but when Herbert saw the fire, he ran down the hill to help (he was 17). Sam Banton was the fire chief and he and Herbert went into the building with a hose. They were on the main floor, roughly in the middle of the building along the Rt. 219 wall. They couldn't get to the fire because it was burning in the wall between the corrugated metal on the outside and the Homosote panels on the inside. (The mill might have been built with balloon framing in which wall cavities run from the cellar to the roof and would let fire spread very quickly to the roof.) Homosote is fire resistant so the fire stayed in the walls and they could not get to the fire to extinguish it. When the chief realized they couldn't get to the fire, he told Herbert to get out of the building. He did and watched the fire consume the Old Red Mill. Needless to say, Herbert did not go to school that day.

 

 

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