Stafford Mills fire ruled arson; $5,000 reward offered

FALL RIVER — Fall River police said Monday the cause of fire at the Stafford Mills building this month was ruled an arson, and announced a $5,000 cash reward for information about the suspect.

The fire started in a stack of about 200 plastic pallets outside the County Street building, according to the Fall River Fire Department, and heavily damaged a section of the mill occupied by clothing manufacturer S. Rothschild.

The fire was called a little past midnight Monday, Jan. 13, and caused persistent hot spots on the roof and damage to the building and business that Fire Department spokesman Capt. Neil Furtado previously estimated was well above $1 million.

Fire crews from Fall River, Seekonk, Swansea, Somerset, Freetown, Westport, Dartmouth, New Bedford and Tiverton responded to the mill fire and a second fire that started around the same time at a Tremont Street residence.

No one was seriously injured in either fire, though a firefighter from Seekonk was transported to an area hospital for treatment of an ankle injury.

The Fall River police and fire departments, as well as the State Fire Marshall, are seeking information about the fire, and the $5,000 cash reward is being offered by the Arson Watch Reward Program.

Those with information about the arson are urged to contact Fall River Detective Derek Beaulieu at 508-324-2796.

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