Colrain firefighters put out fire at cotton processing plant Tuesday night

Franklin County

Colrain firefighters were up late Tuesday night battling a fire at the Barnhardt Cotton Manufacturing Facility on Main Road. 

Fire departments from surrounding communities were called in to help. Colrain Fire Chief Nicholas Anzuoni told 22News there have been fires in the past at this cotton factory. 

“Usually in this type of a fire you get a lot of smoke and a lot of that dust travels around, so they tend to be labor intensive, a lot of mop up,” said Colrain Fire Chief Nicholas Anzuoni. “Cotton just smolders and it takes a lot of time to put out.”

Chief Anzuoni said cotton is one of the most flammable fabrics. He said no one was hurt, despite how quickly the fire spread.

The fire started at the facility during a shift change late Tuesday night when 20 people were working. The company said a foreign substance got into one of the cotton balls, which may have triggered the fire. 

“Based on the locality, its pretty certain that it was a foreign matter that made contact to a condenser screen, which set off a spark and it went from there,” said Tom Robinson, Director of Operations of Barnhardt Natural Fibers Group.

Robinson said there was minimal damage to their facility, but they will need to replace one of their cotton machines. The factory resumed normal operations Wednesday. 

Chief Anzuoni said the Barnhardt cotton factory in Colrain is the largest employer in town with about 50 employees.  

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