KENT, Ohio (WJW) — Flames and a large plume of smoke could be seen in the Kent area Friday as crews worked to extinguish a massive fire in the Historic Mill District.
The fire broke out at Star of the West Milling Co. building at 162 N Water Street just before 9 a.m.
Kent Fire Chief Bill Myers said that 3 minutes after firefighters arrived at the scene, there was an explosion. It’s not clear what caused it.
The structure of the building was compromised after the explosion, so crews couldn’t go inside it. They worked on extinguishing the fire from the outside, the fire chief said.
Chief Myers said they are also having some water supply issues. According to the chief, fighting the fire was taxing the water supply, so they were trying to reduce their use.
“We hope to have this continuing on until all the fuel is burned out,” he said.
The chief said fire operations could stretch into Saturday.
No one was hurt in the fire. It’s unclear how the building was currently being used. The chief said no evacuations were issued.
Kent State University issued an alert saying there is no threat to the campus but to avoid the downtown area.
The railroad tracks that run alongside the building were shut down. Several fire hoses were stretched across them.
The cause of the fire is unknown.
Named after the Williams Brothers in 1879, the Mill District of Kent, Ohio says the mill once produced hundreds of millions of pounds of flour. The iconic grain elevators are a well-known fixture in the city’s skyline.
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