An historic building near downtown
The Atlantic Cotton Mill on
Witnesses said smoke from the fire could be seen all the way from
When the fire began though, there was nothing small about it. Flames completely engulfed the old Atlantic Cotton Mill, a massive building, at more than 130-thousand square feet.
"Right now (around 8 p.m.) we feel like we've got the fire under control at this point in time. I've got the fire about 90 to 95 percent contained inside the perimeter of this structure here," said Fire Chief, Marvin Riggins of the Bibb Co. Fire Dept.
Chief Riggins and his staff received a call about the fire around 4 p.m. and we're on the scene within minutes. The timing of the fire department was especially important of Steve Rickman. Rickman owns Heritage Realty which sits just beside the old cotton mill.
"Timbers were getting on the roof of the big mill. Fire department got here within 5 minutes; they have done an excellent job. I got to give them all the credit in the world. You see the water shooting out of these things. They've set up and they've fought this fire as best they can but this mill could not be put out," said Rickman.
The smoke and flames became so bad that Fire Chief Riggins initiated a code red. Pulling all of his men out of the building and attacking the blaze from outside.
"We made an initial interior attack trying to get ahead of the fire and trying to cut it off from the interior by pulling the roof and stopping the fire there from spreading. But conditions worsened and we went to a code red where we pull all interior crews out and went to strictly defensive mode," said Lt. Kelly Potts of the Bibb Co. Fire Dept.
A developer initially planned to partner with Historic Macon to renovate the building into 107 loft style apartments. Now that plan is off according to Historic Macon Director Josh Rogers.
Chief Riggins said 40 to 50 firemen contained the blaze and spared the surrounding buildings in the area.
"One apartment on the upper level did sustain minor fire damage to some of the vinyl siding and also one of the windows was penetrated due to the excess heat there but we was able to keep the fire off of that structure and I feel that those tenants will be able to reside in those structures overnight," said Chief Riggins.
The Atlantic Cotton Mill was built in the 1920's with large timbers that were extremely flammable.
According to Chief Riggins no one was injured during the fire.