By Ken MacLeod

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (CBS/AP) — A massive, eight-alarm fire at a historic mill in northern Rhode Island forced evacuations and left hundreds without power, officials said late Tuesday.

Firefighters were called to the blaze at the former Alice Mills Rubber Manufacturing Plant, once considered the largest rubber goods factory in the world, shortly after 7:30 p.m. The fire quickly rose to eight alarms and television images of the blaze showed the entire roof had collapsed into the 217,000 square-foot structure.

One firefighter was injured and transported to a hospital with minor injuries. No other details were released and no other injuries have been reported.

WBZ-TV’s Ken MacLeod reports.

Woonsocket police told The Associated Press that residents of about 10 houses on two surrounding streets were evacuated.

At its peak, Alice Mills employed 2,000, and during World War II manufactured barrage balloons and rubber attack boats.

Smoke from the blaze could be seen 10 miles away in Lincoln, R.I., and was being carried by the light wind into parts of

Authorities said all of Woonsocket’s 125 firefighters were on the scene, along with the city’s police department. Nearby fire departments in Rhode Island and Massachusetts also sent firefighters.

Woonsocket is located 14 miles north of Providence and is two miles from the Massachusetts state line.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (4)
  1. Jerry Skala says:

    So how big is an eight alarm fire? How many stations or trucks and fire fighters?

    1. cj says:

      I believe “eight alarm” means the call went out to eight different departments or stations, but I am not sure. I know we recently had a four alarm fire and four departments sent crews.

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