At 7:40 this evening, units of the Abilene Fire Department responded to numerous reports of a building fire in the 100 block of Oak Street. Units arrived to find heavy fire involvement of a large, two-story warehouse and immediately called for a second alarm. Due to the heavy fire conditions, crews were unable to make entry and were forced to take a defensive stance, working to prevent the spread of fire to neighboring properties. The incident eventually went to three alarms as additional units were called to prevent flying embers from starting additional fires.
The building, known as the former Matera Paper Company building, was built in 1907 and is now considered a total loss. The cause is currently under investigation and crews are still on the scene extinguishing hot spots as of this report. There have been no injuries reported but some surrounding properties were damaged by the tremendous amount of heat released when two of the building's exterior walls collapsed.
Original Story: It was about 7:45 when first reports came in of flames coming from the old Matera Paper Company building at South 1st and Oak streets.
Our crews at the scene report much of the roof and at least one wall have collapsed. The fire appeared to be mostly out just after 9:30.
We will continue to provide any updates as they become available.