Early-morning fire destroys historic site
1899 flour mill had been undergoing renovations
WINDSOR» Federal and state officials are investigating what caused a fire that destroyed a historic mill in Windsor. The the blaze early Sunday destroyed the Windsor Mill. No injuries were reported.
Smoke permeated Windsor’s streets, and foam insulation debris littered surrounding streets.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation are investigating.
Mayor Kristie Melendez said everyone in town had been excited that the 1899 flour mill, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was being transformed. Fort Collins-based developer Blue Ocean was working toward a fall opening of a brewery, a restaurant and office space in the building.
The town supported a $3.7 million economic incentive package for the building’s renovation.
“We had so many folks excited about the direction we had taken for that,” Melendez said.
This isn’t the first time the mill has faced a setback: It was hit by a tornado in 2008.
Melendez said she hopes Blue Ocean will work to rebuild after the fire.
“They hope that enough remains there that they can come back in and rebuild,” she said.
Steve Schroyer, director of real estate for Blue Ocean said, “We’re just in assessment mode right now. All we know is it’s burned pretty much to the ground.” Schroyer said the company does have insurance on the building.
An area brewery owner, who did not give his name, said an announcement of the businesses scheduled to fill the historic building had been coming soon.
“We were pretty excited,” he said.
But now developers and the town will just have to wait and hope, Melendez said.
On Sunday morning, many Windsor residents held each other close as they turned out to see the damage.
“What horrible news we all woke up to this morning,” Melendez said.
The mill reminded residents of their agricultural history, Melendez said.
“I think the mill testified to all of us where our history and where our roots come from,” she said.
Although the news had many residents in tears, Melendez said she was grateful no one was hurt.
Crews worked to cut the gas line to the building Sunday morning. Rick Klimek, Windsor police chief, said Main Street was closed until late afternoon.
In addition to Windsor Severance Fire Rescue personnel, workers from the following organizations assisted: Front Range Fire Rescue, Loveland Fire Rescue, Poudre Fire Authority, Eaton Fire Rescue, Berthoud Fire, UC Health EMS, Weld County Sheriff, Weld County Communications, Windsor Police Department, Windsor Public Works and Xcel Energy.
Debris was visible on roads several blocks away from the mill.
Windsor-Severance Fire Chief Herb Brady described the fire as probably the largest in the town’s history in terms of damage and destruction.
The fire was reported at 1:49 a.m., and Brady said there were reports of an explosion or multiple explosions during the fire. He said that’s not unusual for a building that is under construction. He said it could take a week to determine the cause of the fire.
“What horrible news we all woke up to this morning . ... I think the mill testified to all of us where our history and where our roots come from.”
Kristie Melendez, Windsor mayor
Firefighters stand near the remains of the Windsor Mill after a fire Sunday. Federal and state officials are investigating what caused the fire.