Massive fire ravages former Beckett paper mill, Hamilton

UPDATE @ 12:20 p.m. (Nov. 1)

Nearly 30 firefighters battled the massive fire, which was reported at 9:35 Saturday night, according to Hamilton Deputy Chief Larry Gassert.

Gassert said crews arrived and observed flames shooting through the roof approximately 50 to 60 feet high.

Assisted by nine firefighters from West Chester and Liberty townships, 20 Hamilton firefighters fought the fire defensively because it is an empty building, Gassert said.

A damage estimate and cause remain under investigation.

Caleb Caudill, who lives across the street from the building, said he took his dog outside for a walk and saw smoke coming out of the building.

A police officer advised him and his wife that they would have to leave their home because of the threat of an explosion.

“It was huge. The flames were coming out of the building. Out of the windows,” Caudill said. “This used to be a paper factory a long time ago. I’ve noticed people working in there lately. I don’t know if they’re trying to clean it out or something. I just figured some power got left on or something caused an electrical fire.”

Donna Olson, who lives near the building, said she saw fire on the roof as firefighters were stretching four water lines to battle the flames.

Olson said she hopes no one was hurt.

“At one point it looked like the fire was going out, and then you could hear the windows crackin’ and bustin’ then suddenly it just blazed up,” Olson said.

UPDATE @ 1:15 a.m. (Nov. 1)

A Butler County dispatcher said firefighters updated the address of the burning structure to the 400 block of Dayton Street, updating initial reports that the fire was in the 400 block of Heaton Street.

The fire is also burning on vacant property, formerly owned by Beckett Paper Co.

Richard Kornylak, owner of the Kornylak building on Heaton Street said his building currently has no damage from Saturday night’s fire.

UPDATE @ midnight (Oct. 31)

The former Beckett paper mill building was destroyed by a massive industrial fire tonight.

Flames shot through the roof and heavy smoke could be seen across Hamilton. The fire was reported shortly after 9:30 p.m.

The brick structure at 400 Heaton St. is currently the site of manufacturer Kornylak Corp.

The building was built by the former Beckett Paper Co., which started operations in Hamilton in 1848. The company sold the property for $2.7 million to Mohawk Paper Mills Inc. in 2005, according to online records of the Butler County Auditor’s Office. Mohawk Fine Paper closed its doors in 2012.

UPDATE @ 10:45 p.m.

A fire broke out tonight at the former Beckett paper mill in Hamilton.

Flames were shooting through the roof of the brick structure, which was engulfed with a roof collapse likely. Hamilton Fire Department crews responded shortly after 9:30 p.m., and crews from multiple surrounding fire departments were called to assist.


A commercial facility is engulfed tonight in Hamilton.

The fire was reported shortly after 9:30 p.m. at the Kornylak Corp. building at 400 Heaton St., Butler County dispatchers said.

Hamilton fire crews are on scene. No injuries are reported and the cause of the blaze is not yet known.

We will update this report as we learn details.