Fire erupts in building at closed Merrimac Paper mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts, with no injuries reported; support timbers in 19th century structure, which was vacant for decades, had absorbed machine oil, chemicals for years, says local police chief

LAWRENCE, Massachusetts , January 13, 2014 () – Firefighters are battling a large fire at an old, closed paper mill in Lawrence that's causing traffic problems but no injuries or immediate threat to other structures.

The fire was reported late Monday afternoon at the vacant Merrimac Paper Co. building on Canal Street. Firefighters worked from the exterior to contain the fire as it burned itself out. No one was believed to have been in the building. It was scheduled to be torn down.

Police closed the nearby Falls and Central bridges over the Merrimack River and evening commuter traffic backed up on nearby Interstate 495.

Police Chief James Fitzpatrick tells WCVB-TV the 19th century building, vacant for a decade, has support timbers that absorbed machine oil and chemicals over many years.

The Eagle-Tribune newspaper reports the company made high-quality magazine paper and closed in 2005.

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