Fall River in Flames: Watch the Pocasset Mill Fire of 1928
Sitting at the mouth of the Taunton River, Fall River is home to a vibrant mix of cultures. The city’s history is proudly on display thanks to the 19th-century textile mills that still make up the landscape, but the landscape was almost drastically changed in 1928 after a vicious fire plowed through the city. To this day, the fire of 1928 remains one of the most devastating accidents the SouthCoast has ever seen.
Ninety-three years ago, freezing temperatures and high winds caused a massive fire to spread through downtown Fall River on February 2, leveling 36 buildings and causing around $10 million in damage. Fifty years ago, the Herald News reported that a spark from a grill was swept by the wind onto an oil-soaked floor of the abandoned Pocasset Mill. The flames grew feverishly and traveled quickly as it made its way from the abandoned mill, spreading north, then east toward the Fall River Globe building.
President Calvin Coolidge dispatched the army and navy bases, and by 2:30 a.m., the fire was declared under control. In eight hours, this catastrophic fire engulfed dozens of buildings, but the most incredible part was that there were no casualties whatsoever. The only death reported was a firefighter who died later from pneumonia due to the flames.
The landscape of Fall River has drastically changed since 1928, but SouthCoast drivers speed past the origin of the fire almost every day. What was once the center of the city is now known as Interstate 195, and although the city has since rebuilt after the fire of 1928, that fateful night will forever be etched into Fall River’s history books.
Relive February 2, 1928 through these incredible videos that documented the event:
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