COVID-19 Pandemic Stories

Memories of Conant Thread


In the early hours of March 15, 2020 residents on Pine Street, on the Central Falls-Pawtucket city-line, were awakened to the sounds of sirens and many watched as a fire gutted
The Conant Thread—Coats & Clark Mill Complex. Two days later, the remains look like this.

3.18.20 |
Diana Figueroa

Central Falls is now widely recognized as the "Comeback City."
Conant Thread was meant to be a testament to that comeback and to the city's continued growth. When the old mills were designated as a new site for development, we knew that this place was going to change drastically in the upcoming years. However, we did not expect it to happen this way, and so soon.

On Saturday, March 14, while many of us slept, a great fire took over
The Conant Thread, temporarily displacing the residents in close proximity to the fire. The community came together as second responders and did not hesitate to help their neighbors as they evacuated to the nearby Knights of Columbus.

Like myself, many Central Falls residents woke up to the news, and were in disbelief that such a prominent strong landmark could disappear in just one night. When I went out that morning, the city was covered in fog and yellow light, like a golden hour at the end of a day.

As someone who lived near the
Conant Thread, I would often catch glimpse of the identical towers at the end of Cross St. on my way back home. I loved how the sunset shone just right over the two towers at the end of a work day.

Now, I feel a piece of the familiar landscape is missing.

My first time driving down Cross St. the day after the fire, it felt unreal to see the the tower flattened, instead of the upside-down V-shaped roof. In the midst of chaos, I feel it necessity to reflect so that we can all remind ourselves about the importance of being present. Let us remember to appreciate things that are left behind.

As I walk to the mills now it makes me realize how we all took this abandoned space for granted. It almost seems like its own community of brick buildings.

Conant Thread was a symbol for Pawtucket and Central Falls. Now, it is a chance to make our own history.
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