MARINETTE — The Marinette fire chief confirmed that the cause of the fire which destroyed one of Marinette’s old manufacturing buildings was “purely accidental” on Tuesday.

The warehouse known to many as “the old knitting mill,” located at 1650 Pierce Ave. in Marinette, caught fire on the morning of Jan. 25 and burned late into the day. Firefighters from all over the area came to manage the blaze, which began around 11 a.m. and kept firefighters at the scene into the evening.

No injuries were reported from the incident, but the building was considered a total loss. Firefighters demolished the remaining standing walls that same evening. 

According to Marinette Fire Chief Jay Heckel, the official cause of the fire was confirmed to be sparks from powered cutting tools, which caught some detritus inside the building on fire during operation and started the blaze. Heckel added that the cause of the fire was confirmed to be accidental, and no charges in the case were filed. 

The fire also caused debris to fall onto nearby properties, prompting residents to express concern that the debris may contain hazardous materials, including asbestos.

Mark Chamberlain, Air Management Specialist, from the Wis. Department of Natural Resources visited the site Jan. 29 with Heckel and Emergency Management Director Eric Burmeister. Chamberlain visually inspected the entire site and noted asbestos in the boiler room and a pipe protruding from the boiler room wall. The asbestos is in pipe wrap. The boiler room walls and roof are intact; therefore there is minimal risk of public exposure.

The public is reminded that the site is private property. The building’s remains are taped off and signs are posted against trespassing.

If residents find debris on their property they may pick it up while wearing disposable gloves, bag it and place it in their trash receptacle.

The former knitting mill was owned by Polzin Property Management.