A fierce fire that destroyed the former Burlington carpet mill in Monticello has been contained, but will likely burn for a week before it burns itself out, according to Monticello Fire Chief Kelly Reid.
“We’re going to let it burn itself out since there is nothing hazardous there,” Reid said Friday afternoon. “It’s still too hot in there to really get inside to look around at all the debris.”
Reid projected it to take at least a couple of days or up to a week and a half before the fire is out completely. “With that cardboard and paper being baled and wrapped as tight as it is, it’s going to smolder,” he said.
The building was being utilized as a recycling center when it burned.
The fire, which started shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday, is believed to have been caused from burning debris outside the building that ignited some nearby wooden pallets. Wind fueled the fire and pushed it against the building and it quickly got out of control. “It was burning too hot and too fast for us to catch it,” Reid explained. “Once it got into the building we tried to make two different stands against it and it beat us so bad that we had to back up and take a defensive stand on the fire.”
Fifty-five firefighters from nine area fire departments and the Arkansas Forestry Commission battled the fire. They have all returned to their respective jurisdictions and the Monticello Fire Department is monitoring the fire.
There was only one injury and it was caused by a raccoon.
A raccoon fleeing the fire ran across a brick wall and knocked out some loose bricks. One of the falling bricks struck a firefighter’s hand, causing a minor scratch. The raccoon escaped safely and was seen Friday morning hiding in a nearby tree.
The photo above was taken at 7:30 p.m. Thursday on the north side of the building.