ON THURSDAY, February 9,1860 a fire broke out at the Kilncraigs mill in Alloa belonging to Paton & Sons.

The drying house was a single story building attached at the south side of the larger mill, and at around 8 o’clock that evening, workmen doing overtime noticed the blaze.

They grabbed buckets of water and threw it on the fire but it had little effect as it approached the main building.

At this point the factory bell was rung, and a concerted effort was made to stop the fire while the alarm was raised with the local fire service.

By the time the appliance arrived, the fire had spread to the basement of the main mill.

It was unfortunate that the main fire engine at Alloa was out of service, having repairs done, and the one that arrived was only small.

It was also unfortunate that the fire plug could not be found and after searching for some time, water had to be carried to the appliance in buckets from the nearby well.

Try as they might, the firefighters and employees could do little to extinguish the flames.

In just under half an hour, the whole four-storey building was alight, lighting up the night sky, with sparks flying high into the air. It could be seen for miles around.

At 9 o’clock the roof collapsed with a loud crash, taking with it the best part of the south wall and part of the east gable.

Due to the falling roof, the flames were suppressed for a few minutes but soon returned with a vengeance and jumped to the warehouse around 20 feet away.

In the meantime, large quantities of woollen bales and yarn were removed from the building, and knowing the main building could not be saved, the firefighter turned their attention to the warehouse.

Two further appliances arrived, including one from Tillicoultry, and thanks to their efforts, the flames here were put out and the building saved.

The fire in the mill continued until it burned itself out.

It was just fortunate it was a calm evening, or the consequences of the fire could have been much worse.

A tenement building was saved thanks to a small building attaching it to the mill being demolished.

Twelve sets of spinning machines, steam engines and other machinery were all lost at a cost of around £10,000 to £15,000.

The fire was thought to have been caused by an overheating flue in the drying house.