Mill’s lucky escape after basement fire

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AN HISTORIC mill complex was “lucky” to escape severe damage after a fire in a basement.

Firefighters were called to the blaze at Masson Mills, Matlock Bath, at 1am on Monday, after a fire alarm went off in the attraction’s museum.

Marc Redford , watch manager at Matlock Fire Station said the basement, ground floor and first floor of the building were found badly smoke-logged.

Firefighters from Matlock, Wirksworth and Crich spent nearly four hours ventilating the property.

Mr Redford said: “We arrived to find the building full of smoke and firefighters went in with breathing apparatus.

“On investigation it was found that the hydroelectric turbine, which draws power from the water had suffered an electrical fault.”

He added: “Fortunately the fire had been contained in the hydroelectric turbine.

“They were very lucky that the fire was isolated there. There was very minimal fire damage to the building but some smoke damage.

“We used a combination of natural ventilation and a large fan to push the smoke out of the building.”

No one was injured and the shopping village and museum were open on Monday.

The Masson Mills complex was built in 1783 by Sir Richard Arkwright. It is the finest surviving and best preserved example of an Arkwright cotton mill.

Adrian Farmer, site co-ordinator for the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, said: “The hydroelectric turbines have been in there since 1928 so they have provided a good service

“They must have malfunctioned in some way. They were badly damaged and I think will have to be replaced.”

The turbines provide power to the mill but Mr Framer said while they were waiting for them to be replaced a back-up power supply was being used.