WINDSOR, Colo. (CBS4) – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating a raging fire that destroyed an iconic building in downtown Windsor.
The flour mill, a historic state landmark on the town’s Main Street, was believed to be a total loss, firefighters said.
Emergency crews received the 911 call shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday.
Firefighters arrived to find the four story mill engulfed in flames.
Smoke rose from the debris Sunday afternoon as firefighters doused hotspots.
The east side of the building collapsed, firefighters said, leaving residents mourning more than just a structure.
“Makes me sick,” said Ivan Adams, a member of the town board. “It makes me sick because we’ve worked so hard since the tornado … It was going to be absolutely wonderful.”
The century-old mill had been under renovation since a tornado tore through it in 2008.
After years of planning and construction to transform the landmark into a multi-use gem, fit with offices, restaurants and a brewery, the mill was hit with another blow.
“Building loss is one thing. But this was a really iconic structure,” said Todd Vess, Batallion Chief with Windsor Severance Fire Rescue.
“The building was a loss when we got here,” Vess told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia. “So at that point, we looked at saving the other structures and safety. Thankfully no one was hurt.”
The blaze also caused heat damage to surrounding homes and businesses.
The ATF deployed a national response team to investigate the cause of the fire.
“They will be going through the site. They’ll be looking for any surveillance video, looking at photos and videos of the fire, and also interviewing people to see if we can determine the origin and cause of the Windsor mill fire,” said Lisa Meiman, spokeswoman with the Bureau of ATF.
“It’s sat for years. And now it’s going to probably sit for a few more years,” surmised Jeff Langhorn, a longtime Windsor resident who said that the renovation had been coming along well.
“(We saw) the progress of the building. Everybody was really getting excited. And now, (we feel) kind of broken-hearted,” Langhorn added.
Fire crews expected to remain on scene all week alongside ATF investigators.
Residents were told to expect business and road closures throughout the week during the investigation and cleanup.