SANFORD — Part of the Stenton Trust mill, which burned more than a year ago in the largest fire in Sanford’s history, will be demolished starting at the end of September.

City Manager Steve Buck said Environmental Protection Agency officials met with him Monday and laid out their plans for the property at 13 River St.

The demolition of the rear tower at the mill is expected to take four to six months, Buck told the City Council on Tuesday. The front tower will remain and could be redeveloped.

The EPA will pay the costs of the demolition, Buck said.

The fire broke out just before 7 p.m. on June 23, 2017, and raged for hours in the six-story rear tower of the long vacant mill. The rear of the mill property backs up to York County Community Action Corp.’s lot on Spruce Street, dozens of single-family homes are nearby, and there are commercial businesses across River Street.

Flames poured from the windows as more than 100 firefighters from surrounding communities fought the blaze.


Three 12- and 13-year-old boys were originally charged with arson, but pleaded guilty to criminal mischief and were placed on probation for a year.

The original disposal plan called for the EPA to remove hazardous materials, and for the city to dispose of the concrete rubble, which it planned to use in public works projects, and the steel, which would be sold. Instead, the company doing the demolition work for the EPA will remove all the concrete because it could be contaminated and it will take the steel as well, Buck said.

The EPA also will remove loose asbestos from the front tower that faces River Street.

The council had originally planned to have the entire building taken down, but there is a “developer of interest” for the front tower. To move forward with a project, a developer would require a sign-off to ensure the property is environmentally clear for redevelopment.

The foundation of the rear tower will remain intact and could be used for parking, Buck told the council.

The owner of record is Jonathan Morse of Nevada, although his company, Gateway Properties LLC, no longer exists. City records show he purchased the 1920s mill, once part of the Goodall textile empire, and the 6.8 acres it sits on, in 1999 for $600,000.


Property taxes have not been paid since 2009, when a 2006 tax lien was paid, said Sanford Treasurer Paula Simpson. The outstanding balance, not including interest, amounts to slightly over $111,600, according to information supplied by Simpson in May.

Buck said the city is coordinating with the EPA for a public information meeting in September at a date not yet determined.

Tammy Wells can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 327, or at:

[email protected]

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