GREENE – The call came over the scanner at 12:01 a.m. on Mother’s Day: “Structure fire at The Old Mill Bakery.”
“At that moment, I wished our cars had wings on them,” recalled Linda Jones, owner of The Old Mill – a bakery, diner, catering service and ice cream parlor located on 3 Water St. in Greene. “We couldn’t have gotten here fast enough at that point.”
Scared and unsure if their business would survive nine days ago, Jones and husband Cliff have felt that way before.
Two years after purchasing and remodeling what used to be the old Maxon Feed Mill in 2003, back-to-back floods in 2005 and 2006 caused well-over $120,000 worth of damage to the now popular restaurant. The latter filled it with three and a half feet of water, forcing Jones to close for three months.
“After having the two floods, to have this (fire) happen,” said a visibly emotional Jones, who previously owned the Sweets and Eats diner on 2 Canal St. before moving it to the bakery. “It’s just very sad. This building, it’s like a landmark. It means a lot to this community. That’s why we bought it. It’s sad to see part of it go.”
The fire, believed to have originated in a storage unit located at the north end of the old mill, was visible across town from as far away as state Route 12, said Jones.
“I was in a state of shock... I just cried,” she said, describing her emotions as fire fighters from five nearby departments worked feverishly to keep the flames from spreading into the restaurant and ice cream parlor at the southern end. “You feel kind of helpless. You put all your hopes and dreams into the fire department’s hands and hope they can stop it.”
Several storage tenants and Mortenson’s Taxidermy shop, who rent space from Jones, lost everything in the blaze. The cause is still being determined by investigators.
Firefighters, however, were able to keep the flames from entering the diner and ice cream parlor, which escaped with heavy smoke damage, losing a ceiling and $5,000 worth of food stock.
“Sometimes I think I have a black cloud over my head or something,” said Jones...