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A fire that destroyed the sprawling Kerr Mill Complex,...

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FALL RIVER, Mass. -- A fire that destroyed the sprawling Kerr Mill Complex, causing $50 million in damage and displacing 700 workers, was caused by a faulty boiler, state officials said Monday.

A 14-week probe by a special state fire marshal's office task force showed a spark cast off by a boiler ignited a first-floor ceiling in one of the mill's three buildings, with the blaze quickly spreading throughout the complex, officials said.

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Investigators said they interviewed about 100 people before ruling out arson as the fire's cause.

The Jan. 12 blaze forced the evacuation of residents in a one-mile radius around the complex that housed 11 light industrial concerns in three six-story buildings.

The fire, fanned by high winds and intensified by oil soaked into the building's floors during decades of use, shot out a column of flames more than 200 feet tall and closed nearby Route 195.

More than $10 million in local, state and federal aid was secured to help the city recover from the economic blow.

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