The sky above Clark Mills was filled with an orange glow and plumes of smoke as a result of a massive fire that broke out at the old Hind & Harrison Plush Company building.

The Clark Mills Fire Department and several other local fire departments responded to the blaze at the building Monday night just before 8PM. In addition to the Clark Mills Fire Department, whose fire house was close by, fire crews came in to assist in battling the blaze from Westmoreland, Clinton, Stittville, Yorkville, Vernon Center, Vernon, Deansboro, Stanwix Heights, Clayville, Whitesboro, Oriskany, and other first responders, according to the Herkimer-Oneida County Fire Dispatch Facebook page.

While it is assumed the fire began due to lighting from area thunderstorms, the official cause of the blaze is not known at this time. We have reached out to the Clark Mills Fire Department, but have not been able to gather any information at this time. Unfortunately, this building is no stranger to tragedy. In late October of 2019 the Oneida County Sheriff's Office announced that 33-year-old Frankie Torchia of Utica fell from the roof of the 4-story building when a gust of wind blew him off while he was holding a 30-foot piece of roofing metal. He was killed as a result of the fall.

Photo Courtesy of Anne Carey Head
Photo Courtesy of Anne Carey Head

Ironically, the Clark Mills Fire Department Field Days were set to take place this weekend just a stone's throw away from the Hind & Harrison Plush Company building, but there is no word on if the rides, games and entertainment will go on. Again, we are still waiting to hear back from Clark Mills Fire Department officials. The area around the building was shut down as fire crews battled the massive blaze atop the roof of the building. Several bystanders and neighbors looked on as the battle raged on. Several people submitted photos and videos of the fire.

The Hind & Harrison Plush Company, founded by Ralph, Ammi, and Erastus Clark, was established in 1845 and was successfully operational until it closed in 1949, according to the William G. Pomeroy Foundation website. The plaque outside the building designates the historic significance of the building to the small hamlet of Clark Mills.

As soon as we receive an update on the cause of the massive fire and the status of the Clark Mills Field Days, we will provide those details to you.

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