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Arthur Grain Mill property goes up in flames

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By Sean Kennedy

Thick plumes of smoke and steam mixed with the gray winter air Friday morning as firefighters from several jurisdictions converged on a fire at the Arthur Grain Mill, just north of downtown Brighton.  

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Residents called the fire department about the old mill, located at the corner of Main Street and Denver Ave., at roughly 7:45 a.m., reporting heavy smoke coming from inside the mill and flames shooting up to the ceiling.

Fire Chief Mark Bodane of the Brighton Fire Rescue District reported that about 45 firefighters were on the scene of the fire, containing the fire with defensive procedures since the fire had not spread to outside the building. Bodane said there were no injuries or deaths from the fire. Some residents said that there had been a homeless person living in the mill recently, which otherwise lays vacant, a report Bodane said he is unable to confirm at this time. The building itself, however, did not escape unscathed.

“Oh, I imagine it’s a total loss on this building,” Bodane said, “I don’t think there’s any part that’s salvageable.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Units from the North Metro, South Adams County and Fort Lupton fire departments are assisting. Brighton police are asking people to stay away from the area.

The Arthur Grain Mill property is one of the older parts of downtown Brighton’s landscape, having been originally built more than 100 years ago in 1917.

The original building was a grain elevator for the Brighton Grain Co-Op before being purchased shortly after the Great Depression by Frank Ottensen, a member of the co-op who expanded the property and renovated it to add modern conveniences and expanded grain production capabilities. The property stayed in the hands of the co-op until it was sold to William Arthur, who renamed the property the Arthur Grain Mill. Arthur’s mill operated for nearly 20 years before closing in 2012. Brighton city officials listed the property as a threatened structure in 2013 after learning that the property’s new owner, Union Pacific, intended to demolish the long-vacant building in the future.

Before this fire occurred, city officials had recently received grant funding to do a structural assessment on the property, a project that is now likely going to be canceled.

Kum and Go at the Bridge Street roundabout and Chick-fil-A in Prairie Center donated food for the fire crews working the fire.