Fire crews battle Spartanburg mill fire through night - FOX Carolina 21

Fire crews battle Spartanburg mill fire through night

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Firefighters use a ladder truck to fight a massive blaze in Spartanburg. (July 6, 2012/Dan Patton) Firefighters use a ladder truck to fight a massive blaze in Spartanburg. (July 6, 2012/Dan Patton)
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A massive fire burned throughout Friday at an abandoned mill in Spartanburg.

Fox Carolina was the first news outlet on scene when flames starting shooting out of the old Butte Knitting Mill on Fairforest Road around noon.

Crews worked nonstop all day to contain the fire and smoke that could be seen for miles.

By evening, bulldozers ripped apart the side of the old mill, preventing burning rubble from spreading the flames as firefighters drenched the still-blazing flames.

Fairforest Road and others nearby were blocked from both sides as emergency service vehicles pass through to work.

SLIDESHOW: Vacant mill burns in Spartanburg

Across the highway, staff at the Fast Fuel convenience store had one of the first looks at the flames.

Callie Thompson worked the register for people who would buy cool drinks as they watched the fire from the gas station parking lot.

"When it first started it was a yellow color smoke" said Thompson, "and then it turned really dark black and it just covered everywhere in black smoke."

Even drivers down Interstate 85 could see the thick smoke.

Spartanburg County Emergency Management Director, Doug Bryson, said crews responded in minutes, creating a command center to organize more than 80 workers. He said firefighters kept the fire from spreading and DOT crews blocked off nearby roads as they worked.

Bryson said the old double-knit fabric factory was vacant, that it has been for at least 20 years. Sheriff's deputies said they have found homeless people staying there over the years.

By Friday night, authorities said they had no way to know if anyone was inside, but fire marshals will investigate the fire as a possible crime scene.

The fire chief in command said it will take days before investigators even get a chance to start looking into how this fire started. Until then, crews will rotate through 12-hour shifts until all flames and hot spots are out.

Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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