Afternoon fire ignites remnants of Lawrence paper mill property

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Sep. 12—LAWRENCE — Another fire ignited Monday at the Merrimac Paper Co. property, a dilapidated 19th century paper mill on the south shore of the Merrimack River.

Firefighters were called to the area for a report of an outside fire near the railroad tracks there around 1 p.m.

But the fire was inside the basement and subbasement area of a vacant building at the 9 So. Canal St. section of the site, said Deputy Fire Chief John McInnis.

The area has highly visible evidence of human inhabitation, he said.

"It's part of the city's homeless compound," said McInnis, noting garbage and excrement were in the area.

A portion of the fire was 20 feet into the ground, forcing the use of a ladder to access and extinguish the blaze, McInnis said.

Firefighters ran two lines of water into the area to knock down the fire.

No injuries were reported, he said.

A fire investigator was called to the paper mill. The cause of the blaze remained under investigation.

The paper mill has been the site of numerous fires in recent years, including a massive January 2014 blaze.

Andover firefighters covered Lawrence Fire Department headquarters on Lowell Street during the fire.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.