LEWISTON — A television producer might be interested in filming the destruction of Bates Mill building No. 5, but that won’t slow down other efforts to demolish the building.

Acting City Administrator Phil Nadeau said that representatives from the Maine Film Office had contacted the city on behalf of a television producer. Nadeau said the interest level was low, however.

“I don’t expect it will amount to much, but it is worth investigating,” Nadeau said.

The city will continue working to find someone to demolish the building. Finance Director Dick Metivier said the city could select a contractor in September and begin demolishing the massive building this fall.

The structure’s saw-toothed roof caught fire briefly Wednesday afternoon when ash from the burning Cowan Mill floated across the street. Fire crews had the Bates Mill No. 5 fire under control quickly, Nadeau said.

“It remains an empty structure, now with a small hole in the roof,” Nadeau said. Fire damage was not extensive enough to change the city’s demolition plans, he said.

Councilors voted in April to begin taking proposals to demolish the massive building that looms over downtown. The city began hearing from demolition experts the very day after the vote — some from as far away as Minnesota, Ohio and Ontario.

But the demolition project has proved difficult to set up. The building is low to the ground, but covers a wide area. It has more than 350,000 square feet of usable space inside, although very little wood.

The mill also contains a workable hydro-electric generating facility, current owned by Florida Power and Light, as well as a 4-foot-wide storm sewer structure underneath it. Dealing with both of these issues will add to the costs, Metivier said.

The building was designed by industrial architect Albert Kahn and opened in 1914. The top floor, immediately under the distinctive saw-tooth roof, housed as many as 300 Jacquard looms during the Bates Co.’s heyday.

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