Historic RI plant destroyed in blaze
August 16, 2011 | 9:13 am CDT

Fire gutted the former Alice Mill Rubber manufacturing plant
that was to become a wood pellet operation.

WOONSOCKET, RI -- American Wood Pellet Company's plans to make product in a 112-year-old mill which once made Keds sneakers, were crushed when a massive fire gutted the building on Tuesday.

The blaze consumed the former Alice Mill Rubber manufacturing plant, which recently purchased by American Wood Pellet Co. The company reportedly planned to use part of the facility to manufacture wood pellets for fueling stoves and lease the rest of the plant.

Fire officials believe the fire was ignited from a torch left by a construction worker, helping to renovate the facility.

 Historic RI plant destroyed in blaze
The Alice Mill Rubber plant as depicted in a 1911 postcard.

Alice Mill has been a fixture of Woonsocket since 1889 when it was founded by the Woonsocket Rubber Company. At one point the plant employed approximately 2,000 people.Among its claim to fame, the plant made Keds gym shoes and furnished rubber assault vehicles and other rubber products to assist the World War II effort.

Posted by Rich Christianson


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