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Jones Mill Fire Finally Extinguished

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By Joseph Kreiss, Web News Editor

Cause of the fire that destroyed the old Jones saw mill in Soulsbyville yesterday is now under investigation.

Tuolumne County Fire Marshall Karry Hubbard is not ruling out arson. The wooden mill building on Soulsbyville Road was totally destroyed in the fire that started just after 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Fire officials are asking the public for help finding clues to the cause. Hubbard said if someone thinks they might have seen anything suspicious in the area around 4 p.m. Monday, no matter how trivial, they are asked to call Tuolumne County fire investigators at 532-0821.

Fire crews were at the scene most of the day Tuesday. Twenty-four hours after the first alarm, the fire was declared “out” by Hubbard.

Sonora California Division of Forestry Fire Captain Julie Honer Tuesday morning said because of the amount of tangled metal debris and charred machinery in the building, and the dangerous conditions around the mill site, crews allowed the fire to burn itself out overnight.

“It was the safest thing to do,” Honer said.

A Tuolumne County Fire Department pumper truck had been spraying a constant stream of water on the charred and smoldering debris most of the morning, supplied by two large semi-truck-like water tenders.

“We´re going to drown it today to put it out,” she said.

Two inmate crews from Baseline Camp and a bulldozer crew from Tuolumne County Public Works were on hand to help in the mop-up effort.