PAWTUCKET — Like “trick” birthday candles, hot spots continued to
flare up in the rubble of the Union Wadding Mill complex as late as
Friday afternoon, keeping city firefighters busy. According to Robert
Howe, the city's Emergency Management Director, two engine
companies and a ladder truck remained on the scene, trying to douse
smoldering areas of the sprawling, circa 1847 brick building.
Howe said that fire officials were concerned about the stability of the remaining exterior brick walls of the mill building along Goff Street and Pine Street, so detours would remain in place until further notice along Goff Avenue and from Pine Street to Bayley
Street. Another matter of concern, Howe said, was the forecast of an impending nighttime storm that could bring rain and high winds, further weakening the remaining walls. He said fire crews
would be on hand throughout the night to keep a close eye on the burntout structure. Fire Capt. Steven Parent, the city's fire marshal, said that a crew of fire investigators from the city, the State Fire Marshal's Office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms would be entering the site on Saturday morning to begin sifting through the rubble as part of the investigation
into the cause of Wednesday night's seven-alarm blaze. Parent said the electricity had been turned on by mid-day Friday and the
tenants of The Lofts apartments, located in two smaller buildings next
to the Union Wadding mill, had been allowed back into their homes.
City Building Official John Hanley said that the apartment buildings are basically unconnected to the main mill complex except for a couple of small fire wall separators. He said the
electricity had been restored and by Friday afternoon, the gas company
had given clearance for the gas to be turned back on. He said that once the main fire in the mill complex had been brought under control, it was more of a matter of inconvenience for the tenants
to return than a safety issue.