Home Fire News Investigators seek public’s help for suspicious fire at Strathmore Mill

Investigators seek public’s help for suspicious fire at Strathmore Mill

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Image Credit: Blanford Fire & Rescue via Facebook

Dave Canton
MassLive.com, Springfield, Mass.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is asking the public for its help as it investigates a large fire in Russell last weekend that destroyed the former Strathmore Mill #2 in the Woronoco section of Russell.

Jennifer Mieth, spokesperson for the Fire Marshal said investigators are looking for video footage shot by security surveillance systems or dashboard video cameras along the route to and from the mill location. 

Investigators are especially interested in video shot between 6 and 9 p.m. the evening of June 19, 2020, in the areas of Woronoco Road in Russell leading up the mill, Route 20 west from Woronoco to the VFW in Russell, Route 20 east from Woronoco to the Four Mile Store in Westfield, and traffic on Route 23 between Route 20 and the Blandford town line.

Anyone with video shot in those areas at the time specified is asked to contact the Massachusetts State Police at the Russell Barracks at 413-862-3312. 

Firefighters were called to the scene at about 8:30 p.m. Friday to find much of the 233,000 square-foot building in flames. 

The size of the fire and the lack of water in the town system hampered firefighters as they battled the blaze.

Tanker trucks from as far away as Ware and Egremont were pressed into service to ferry water from hydrants in nearby Westfield to the fire scene. The only vehicular access to the fire scene was across a single-lane Bailey bridge over the Westfield River. 

That bridge made it impossible for aerial ladder trucks to get to the scene to pour water from above the flames.  Instead, firefighters had to use ground-level hoses to try to extinguish flames far into the structure.

Fire crews remained on the scene for more than two days as parts of the building continued to smolder.

Fire investigators called the fire “suspicious” from the outset.

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