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Fire rips through abandoned cotton mill in Social Circle

Crews are still on the scene and are expected to remain there overnight to keep the fire under control.

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. — Three fire departments are still working to put out a fire at an old abandoned cotton mill in Walton County on Sunday.

Social Circle Fire Chief Ken Zaydel said the fire was reported around 1:50 p.m. at what was left of the old mill near the corner of Cannon Drive and South Cherokee Road.

Zaydel said that crews from his department were aided by firefighters from both Walton and Newton counties and crews will likely remain overnight.

Photos shared by the fire department and police showed dark black clouds billowing from the old structure. Police in Social Circle were also forced to close the road near the fire and asked drivers to avoid the area and use the Social Circle Bypass Road instead.

Credit: Chief Ken Zaydel/Social Circle Fire Department
Fire at abandoned cotton mill in Social Circle, Georgia on April 4, 2021

The fire chief said the building, while not occupied, is a bit of a landmark for the town - something most residents recognize. However, he said it's not the first time the mill has caught fire. 

He pointed back to a previous fire roughly 20 years earlier and said that what caught fire on Sunday was what still remains of the building after years of falling in.

He described the fire as fairly substantial with "a lot of exposures" and said it was bad enough that it wasn't safe to send firefighters into the building itself. The cause is still under investigation and the chief said the state fire marshal will be brought in to gather more details regarding how the fire started.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as they become available.