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Historic Everton mill destroyed by fire

Landmark gone - A fire destroyed Hortop Mill in Everton on Jan. 19. TOP: A photo of the mill by Stephanie Naylor was featured on a Guelph-Eramosa Township commemorative stamp unveiled last fall.  Photo by Jaime Myslik

Historic Everton mill destroyed by fire

by Jaime Myslik

EVERTON - An early morning fire that completely destroyed the historic Hortop Mill in Everton on Jan. 19 is being treated as suspicious.

“It’s a real kind of loss,” said David Townsend, Rockwood Conservation Area superintendent.

The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) owns the mill, which last fall was chosen as one of five heritage sites featured on commemorative postage stamps produced by Guelph-Eramosa Township.

“People loved it,” Townsend said. “It was a real piece of history for this area.”

The original fire call came in at about 3:30am and when firefighters arrived at the mill, located on Evert Street, just south of the Eramosa River, it was fully-engulfed with flames.

“Upon our arrival, the structure had collapsed and there were no exposures, so we took a defensive position,” deputy fire chief Jim Petrik wrote in an email.

He later confirmed the fire is being treated as suspicious.

The cause of the blaze is not yet known but Wellington County OPP, the OPP’s forensic identification services unit, Guelph-Eramosa Fire Department and the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshall are investigating.

No injuries were reported.

Four stations responded to the fire: Guelph-Eramosa, Puslinch, Guelph, and Hillsburgh, said Rockwood platoon chief Robert Crosbie said at the scene.

“We needed the water supply so they brought tankers and shuttled water,” he explained.

The structure was not in use and it had no electricity, but the GRCA performed weekly checks and secured the area, Townsend said.

The mill contained many of the wooden pulleys and gears that would have been used to help run the mill with waterpower.

“The only thing that really remains is the old grind stone... out front of it, but everything else burned,” Townsend said.

“There’s nothing to save, so we’ll be looking at site clean up now.”

Anyone with information regarding this incident can contact the Wellington County OPP at 1-888-310-1122. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit a tip online at Tip providers may be eligible for a reward from Crime Stoppers of up to $2,000.

January 20, 2017


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