Star of the West Mill fire investigation underway, no new updates


Anthony Scilla

The front of the Star of the West Mill on Jan. 17, 2023.

Angelia Kellhofer, Reporter

On Dec. 2, 2022, the Star of the West Mill in downtown Kent caught on fire, resulting in the continued abandonment of one of Kent’s historical landmarks.

“That fire at 162 N. Water St. in Kent that occurred on Dec. 2 is an ongoing investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Fire and Explosion Investigations Bureau,” said Andy Ellinger, public information officer two at the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of State Fire Marshall. “The cause of the fire remains undetermined with no further details to share at this time.”

The abandoned flour mill, located at 162 N. Water St., was corroded with smoke and flames that fire fighters had gotten under control after some time.

Even though the Mill was abandoned, the potential of residual flour residue could have been a factor in the Mill fire due to flour becoming a flammable substance under the correct amount of heat, according to Howard Boyle, chairman of the board at Hometown Bank.

The recent fire is evident by the burn marks on the metal tubes at the Star of the West Mill on Jan. 17. (Anthony Scilla)

The fire was put out, however some of the surrounding buildings of the Mill had suffered water damage due to flooding from the fire hoses from the fire trucks that were on the scene.

Hometown Bank located across the street from the abandoned Mill did not suffer any smoke inhalation or water damages, according to Boyle.

Boyle has lived in Kent for his entire life and said there was a benefit of what the firemen had chosen to do with some of the remaining wood that was recovered after the fire.

“One of the firemen, I talked to him at my son’s house and he said some of the wood from the inside silo that was not burned, the fireman had taken the wood and they were going to make a table from the wood,” Boyle said.

However, the fire that occurred on Dec. 2, 2022 is not the only fire that the Mill has experienced, Boyle said about his longtime friend Pete Williams.

“One of my best friends, Pete Williams, and his family owned the Mill and it wasn’t the first fire they had,” Boyle said. “I remember he and I and our wives were having dinner one night and he got a call and there was a fire. Always with the Mill, the concern of the fire was the flour dust catching fire.”

Angelia Kellhofer is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].