YORK — Thursday night’s fire that destroyed a long-closed textile mill undergoing renovations for senior citizens housing has been ruled “suspicious,” York Fire Chief Dominic Manera said today.
In a news conference at the York Fire Department, Manera did not go so far as to call the fire arson, but would not rule out any potential conclusion about the fire’s origin. He declined to give specifics of what local, state, and federal investigators have found so far.“There are some situations at the scene that do not add up,” Manera said. “They don’t point to your typical accidental fire.”
Manera did say officials have not ruled out accidental origin. The intensity of the fire, which could be seen for blocks and is considered the worst in the city in at least a decade, was so severe that investigators have not been able to determine if an accelerant was present at the scene, Manera said.
Investigators have determined where at the mill the fire started, but Manera declined to release that information because of the ongoing investigation.
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The Lockmore Mill has been closed for decades, but restoration was underway to convert the more than century old building. Rehab Builders, a subsidiary of Landmark Group, was turning the building into apartments. Landmark officials said Friday the company still plans to continue restoration.
Landmark officials said Thursday after the fire that construction workers left the building less than an hour before the fire, after a walk-through of the building.
Investigators are asking the community for help in getting information on the fire. Call 1-800-92-ARSON or the York Police Department at 684-4141.
See Tuesday’s Herald for more.