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Crews respond to fire at pair of abandoned buildings in Evans Mills

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EVANS MILLS — Emergency responders rushed to the intersection of Factory Street and Keyser Road on Sunday afternoon after fires broke out in a pair of abandoned buildings across the street from each other.

Crews spent hours putting out the fires at the twin buildings, with smoke rolling out of each of the buildings’ windows. The fire was reported about 5 p.m.

Lee M. Bidwell, second assistant chief of the Evans Mills Fire Department, said much of the fuel for the fire was a collection of crushed cardboard boxes in each structure.

“It’s all black in there,” Mr. Bidwell said at the scene Sunday. “It’s so dark.”

An investigation into what started the fire at the buildings, which were part of the former Borden milk plant, is underway, Mr. Bidwell said. No one was in the buildings at the time of the fire.

Robert W. Herman, a former Evans Mills firefighter who lives down the street from the fire scene, said the Borden plant has been closed since a few years before he moved to the village in the mid-1950s.

Village resident Jason G. Smith said he saw the fire when he left his father’s home on Factory Street to go fishing.

“Just before I back up, I see smoke coming out,” he said.

Mr. Smith, who speculated that children or teenagers may have set the buildings on fire, said he has seen young people use the buildings for skateboarding and paintball.

However, he said he had not seen any people near the buildings when he first saw smoke Sunday.

Fire crews from Philadelphia, Pamelia, Great Bend, Fort Drum, town of Watertown, West Carthage and Clayton also responded to the fire.

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