- halt-past two o’clock this morning the fire-bells rang; out their dread alarm, and within a very few minutes the streets were filled with people hurrying towards Saunders’ Block, for the strong, bright glare plainly indicated the scene of the fire. Cookson’s stables and Tail’s saddler’s shop were in a blaze, and although the members of the Fire Brigade turned out with commendableceleritj', the “devouring element ” had already got too firm a hold of the stables and shop to render theirsalvationpossible. Theßrigade,therefore,turned its attention to prevent the flames spreading, for Saunders’ Buildings were at this time in considerable jeopardy, and in the opinion of many spectators the entire block was doomed to become food for the flames. Nothing daunted, the members of the Brigade went manfully to work. There was no hurry-scurry, confusion, or unnecessary fuss, but each man knew his work, and did it. In fact, so systematically and well did the Brigade work, that they were undoubtedly the means of saving the block, but it was only by the most strenuous exertions that they accomplished this. They literally fought the flames back, and never gave in until they had conquered them. All the members of the Brigade are deserving of honorable mention for their presence of mind, pluck, and bravery. Nothing whatever is known as to the origin of the fire, further than that it originated in Tait’s shop. Mr Tait, who resides in the Wakanui road, says that he left the premises about six o’clock last evening, when all was right. When he next saw them they were in flames. He says that the fire has been a terrible misfortune to him, for it has deprived him of everything, and left him worse off than the day he landed in New Zealand. Two valuable saddles sent to Mr Tait’s establishment yesterday for repair were reduced to gshes in the general ruin. Alcorn’s
china-shop adjoining the stables had a very narrow escape, as any person may see today by glancing at the blackened and charred side of the premises. Had the flames gained the mastery here the entire block, and probably Quill’s as well, would have been destroyed. As it was, many of the goods in Mr Alcorn’s premises were bundled out into the street in anticipation of the destruction of the building. The insurances were as follows ;—Cookson’s stables and cottage at the rear, LBOO in the Union Company ; estimated loss LSOO. Tait’s stock L 250 in the Norwich Union office ; estimated loss L 250. Mr S. W. Alcorn (drapery store), Saunders’ Buildings, was insured for LI,OOO in the Norwich office, and L 1,150 in the Union. Mr R. Alcorn (grocery store), Saunders Buildings, was insured for L 1,350 in the Union office. The ruins of the fire were still smouldering this morning. Mr G. F. Henry was insured for LIOO in the North British office ; loss by breakages, smashed glass, &c., about L3O-
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 508, 3 December 1881
FIRE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 508, 3 December 1881
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