• Chief Watters: More than 1 million gallons used to battle blaze
  • Explosions heard during fire were small propane canisters
  • Roadway still closed, but additional block now available for business access

It will still be some time before the exact cause is known, but one thing is for sure: the last piece of Cedartown history is now lost and gone forever. The old Jockey factory – once the Cedartown Yarn Mill, and before that the Cotton Export & Exchange, has been through several owners and iterations over the generations.

This last one burned on Tuesday and all that remains are charred ruins, damaged roadway and questions as to what took this final building that was once part of a larger industrial complex on West Avenue.

Cedartown Fire Chief Kyle Watters reported that investigators were finally able to get onto the scene starting this afternoon to go through the wreckage from the fire that burned so hot, it melted power lines along the roadway and will require West Avenue’s repair by the city.

A cause has still yet to be determined since investigators were only now able to get into the still smoldering ruins of the old Jockey plant, and their goal is to find the source of the fire then determine an exact cause.

The former home of a spinning mill, yarn mill, a distribution center for Jockey and then various other uses including a flea market over the past years, the century-plus old facility was wood and brick construction that had years of various uses and materials within.

Bystanders who reported hearing explosions during the fire on Tuesday were correct, per Watters. He noted that some small propane canisters were reported to have been in the building at the time the blaze began, and were responsible for those booms heard while the fire burned the building to charred bits.

Neighboring help

Watters wanted to offer his thanks to Rockmart Fire and Rescue, Polk County Fire Rescue, firefighters who came from Rome, Polk County EMA, Cedartown Police, Polk County Police and the Polk County Sheriffs Office for all their assistance during the past two days.

He additionally thanked Cedartown City Manager Edward Guzman, administration and staff for their help as well, the Cedartown City Commission and Commission Chair Jessica Payton for their support as operations continued through the past two days.

Local businesses including Coosa Dental, Chick-fil-A, Bojangles and Domino’s for providing food during the past two days, along with local residents who dropped off food and drinks as well.

Cedartown Public Works, Polk County Public Works, and the Cedartown Water Department have also been vital in the efforts over the past two days as well, Watters said.

The four different fire departments utilized hydrants all up and down West Avenue to fight the blaze as multiple pumper trucks, engines and ladder trucks were pouring water onto the fire. Watters said that tally was upward of 1 million gallons before the fire was under control.

Roadway closure

The city did update the roadway closure and extended the amount of West Avenue open on the downtown side of the creek crossing. Main Street to Prior Street of West Avenue is now open, but drivers trying to get back to Piedmont Highway will still want to detour around via Canal Street.

Guzman said the city opened up an additional area of the street to allow for businesses to have access to West Avenue since it was undamaged, but drivers beware: attempting to turn around on Prior Street will find themselves back on Furnace Street anyway.

Here’s the two ways that are easier to get around the closure in Cedartown at the moment.

Find previous coverage from Wednesday in the following links to get caught up:

VIDEO: Fire destroys old Jockey plant in Cedartown

Gallery: The morning after the historic blaze

Gallery: Your photos from the Jockey plant fire

Fire destroys former factory in Cedartown

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