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Cocheco Mill Number 1 Fire

January 26, 1907  at 6:30 pm fire broke out on the fourth floor of Cocheco Mill Number 1. The sprinkler system was under repair so the fire spread rapidly. Power was shut off, leaving panicked workers attempting to escape in darkness and smoke. The building had only one fire escape, many workers were injured when they leaped from windows.

Fire fighters batted the flames for thirty-six hours. Their efforts were hampered by-30 degree temperatures. It was so cold that water from the fire engines froze almost immediately. Some of the fire hoses were accidentally cut by the buggy wheels of sightseers.

Thousands of spectators from Portsmouth, Rochester, Rollinsford, Durham and Newmarket came to watch.  Police had to send all officers to control the crowds, many of whom came from Dover's 60 bars. The police station filled to capacity with intoxicated spectators. 

In the end, four lives were lost and the building was a million dollar loss. Just a few days before the fire, the Mutual Insurance Company proclaimed the Cocheco Mills "excellent".