Douglas County officials said more than 140 homes lost power Saturday after from a suspicious fire burned down a landmark building.
DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. —
Douglas County officials say a fire that burned down a landmark site and left hundreds of residents without power Saturday morning is suspicious.
Officials said Sunday's showers helped knock out remaining flames at the General Western Cotton Mill on Bankhead Highway in east Douglasville.
The fire started just after midnight Saturday. Fire crews found the 100-year-old structure engulfed in fire with flames shooting through the roof.
Orange flames and smoke filled the night sky near the cotton mill, a city-owned property that has been abandoned for decades.
While residents said the site was an eyesore, it was also considered a community treasure for others.
For Buddy Collett, losing the old mill is like losing a piece of family history. He worked there, along with so many others.
"My daddy and mother, one of my aunts, my mother-in-law, daddy-in-law," Collett said. "I had a lot of memories (come) back this morning."
Witnesses said they could see the fire for miles with massive flames reaching 100 feet.
"And then there was an explosion and some of the flames shot up even higher than that," Waylon Rohling said.
Since the building had nothing inside and no electricity, officials called the cause of the fire suspicious, but did not immediately rule it arson.
"It's kind of upsetting that somebody would do something like this. This is actually history of this town because a lot of old people use to work here," added resident Morgan Adams. "It's just hurting that somebody would do something like this."
Fire officials decided to allow the structure to burn itself out due to its dilapidated condition. There were no injuries on the scene or threat of danger to surrounding properties, officials said.
For a while, more than 140 homes lost electricity and the east-west line of the Norfolk Southern train line was shut down. Services have mostly been restored.