Fire at Mill D

There's Trouble At The Mill:
On Friday, July 18th at or around 5:00PM, the section of Mill D containing the Latex and Clay Tanks burned down. According to the Kalamazoo Gazette, the neighbors suspect arson, and I would concur with this since there is no electrical or natural-gas service to Mill D.

According to the Kalamazoo Gazette, another very small fire had occurred in a section of Mill D on the previous Sunday (July 13th). However, I think that the article may have been incorrect, and that the previous fire may actually have been in the wreckage of Mill E. After the first fire, I did not see any damage to the outside of Mill D but parts of Mill E did look somewhat singed.

These continuing fires at the mill make me very angry. If other people want to come and look at the mill and take pictures of it or take shelter in it, I don't mind that at all. I don't like it very much when other people go into the mill in order to steal equipment or dump garbage. However, I feel nothing but contempt and disgust for anyone who would attempt to destroy the mill by setting it on fire. You know, some things harm other people, and some things don't. If somebody goes in the mill and drops their camera onto concrete from two stories above, then that is of course too bad but the owner of the camera is the only person harmed. But when you start burning the mill down, you cause trouble for a lot of other people. Firefighters have to come and risk injury in putting out the fire. The residents of the neighborhood have to worry about exposure to smoke and whatever chemicals it might contain, not to mention the risk of the fire spreading to their house. The police have to waste time patrolling an unused area that nobody would care about had you not tried to burn it down. You have now made it impossible for responsible individuals (except via this website and other archival material) to enjoy the history and legacy of the part of the mill that you destroyed. And you make it a lot more difficult for anyone to enjoy the legacy and history of the remaining buildings.

Who set the fire? I don't know. The Geek Group used to frequent the mill, but I don't think that they do anymore, and I don't think that they would have set it on fire anyway. The "Milwood Middle G.D.s" ("Gangster Dsiciples") have left a bunch of graffiti in Mill C and in the Living Ways parking lot, but I've never met them and don't know a whole lot about them. I have seen quite a few neighborhood youngsters around the mill, but none of them really seemed like they had crime on their minds. I guess you never really know, though. In any event, I hope that whoever did this decides not to do it again.

Luckily, the portion of Mill D that burned (it was the building containing the clay and latex storage tanks, and another tank that was probably used for mixing) was situated across Portage Creek from the other part of Mill D to which it was attached. And luckily, the fire department prevented the fire from spreading through the foliage to the other parts of Mill D. This did contain the fire to just that one building.

A couple of days after the fire occurred, the city brought out some demolition equipment and tore down the burned out remains of the building. Happily, they refrained from tearing down any of the undamaged buildings, and have subsequently removed the demolition equipment. Below are some photographs of the wreckage, post-demolition.


One was not previously able to see quite that much of the Powerhouse from here.




I guess those tanks were really built to last.


It seems weird to be able to see this much of the other side of Mill D from here.


There's the (ex-)connector over the creek to the rest of Mill D.


What once was this imposing mill is now a bunch of rubble. I guess not everything in the basement was destroyed, though.


It doesn't get a lot bleaker than this, does it?


I hope that isn't one of the "wheels of progress." Because it ain't turnin' any more.


I don't suppose that the owners of the Illinois Envelope Company (pictured in the background) were very happy about all of this, either.


This lucky tank escaped both the fire and the bulldozers.


Here's another part of Mill D that was previously not visible from this angle. I sure wouldn't have predicted that I'd be complaining about new parts of the mill being made visible, but here I am doing so nonetheless.


I dont think that it had anything to do with the fire, but I did notice while I was there that the leak in this pipe has become much larger than it was last summer. (In case anyone wonders, I'm quite sure that the substance flowing from the pipe is only water that entered the pipe at some point upstream.)


Click here to return to the main Allied Paper site.