Words by Gary Carter
A STALYBRIDGE mill has been gutted by a huge fire overnight.
Ray Mill, on the corner of Tame Street and Clarence Street, went up in flames as the snow came down.
People living nearby were told to stay indoors and keep their windows and doors closed as more than 50 fire officers battled the inferno.
And onlookers even said they could hear floors collapsing as the blaze, which broke out shortly before midnight, tore through the structure.
Now surveyors and insurers are likely to weigh up the damage in the coming days and weeks and decide on the future of the five-storey mill.
Ray Mill is believed to be owned by Universal Garments International, a company which supplies clothing for major high street retailers.
The smoke from the fire can be smelled across most of Tameside, including Audenshaw, Droylsden and Dukinfield, with a plume catching the strong winds.
The building is 110-years-old and cotton production ended there in 1982.
Other businesses registered at the mill include Manchester Spray Finish, Sub-Prime Direct, Impact Fashion and Alm786.
Both Tame Street and Clarence Street were closed as the fire, which was brought under control at about 2.30am today, raged.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service Incident Commander, Group Manager Billy Fenwick said at the time: “This mill is well alight but our firefighters are working hard to bring it under control.
“As a precaution I would ask all nearby residents to keep their doors and windows closed to prevent any smoke from entering their homes.
“Please also ensure you stay away from the nearby area and do not drive nearby for both your safety and to make sure we can fight this fire.”
At this stage it is not known if anyone was injured in the fire, or how much damage was done to the mill.