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Vernon Textile Mill Blaze Deemed Largest Fire in Decades

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

VERNON, CT - In the early morning hours of December 12, 2022, the Town of Vernon Fire Department was dispatched by Tolland County Mutual Aid Fire Service, Inc. for a reported structure fire at 114 Brooklyn St. in the Rockville section of town.

First arriving TVFD personnel found the four-and-a-half story brick and heavy wood timber mill structure at the base of Brooklyn St. well involved in fire. The fire quickly intensified involving the entire structure and threatened adjacent structures and residences.

Eversource CT was immediately requested as downed service wires were in the roadway and impeding operations. The fire quickly went to 4+ alarms and other special calls for additional apparatus, including aerial apparatus. CT Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) was requested to the scene as the mill was adjacent to the Hockanum River and flying debris was affecting the waterway and adjacent neighborhoods.

A unified command structure was enacted with support from the Capitol Region and Tolland County command vehicles. The recent snowfall and freezing temperatures created challenges for personnel and incident command requested backfilling of additional companies covering the stations. A regional Task Force activation was enacted (Task Force 23) in an effort to call in additional resources, including some from Hartford County and beyond to assist with covering the Town of Vernon while personnel battled the intense fire.

The fire was brought under control and an extensive overhaul operation began due to the internal collapse of the building. The CT State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit (FEIU), Vernon Fire Marshal's Office, and the Vernon PD is investigating the origin and cause of the fire. The CT State Police also sent several of their Cadaver K9 teams to search the debris with nothing immediately located.

TVFD standby companies remained on scene overnight to ensure safety and security of the area, establish collapse zones, and monitor for hot spots. In total, the main operation lasted just under 24 hours. The TVFD is sincerely appreciative of the cooperative effort of not only many in-town departments and businesses, but also the many mutual aid departments and agencies that assisted us with one of the largest fires in decades.

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VERNON FDCorrespondent

Town of Vernon Fire Department , Vernon, CT