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Two large fires occurred in Christchurch last night. Shortly after midnight the Union Bank of Australia was discovered to be on fire, and it required the utmost exertions of the Brigade to confine the fire to where it originated—the roof. At half-past one the fire was supposed to be completely quelled, but half-an-hour later the flames burst out again. Shortly after 3 o’clock, however, all danger was over. The Are is believed to have originated in the chief officer’s room upstairs, and was confined to that floor, which was divided into only two rooms. What was the cause is quite beyond conjecture. The Bank was closed at the usual time and the last to leave was Mr Wilmer, who saw everything secure at 7 o’clock. Messrs Wilmer and Cotterill were in the private premises. The chief officer had been in his room till about 4 o’clock, and Messrs Brittan and Wright had been at work there till about half-an-hour later. The Bank is insured for or LB,ooo in the Liverpool and London, the Union, and the Royal offices, but the amount of each policy could not be ascertained last night. The damage will no doubt be fully covered by the insurance.

Scarcely had the crowd assembled at the Union Bank before the alarm of anotherfire was raised, and it was known that Reese’s sawmill and timber yard were in a blaze. The mill was utterly destroyed, and also the machinery in the engine house. Mr Reese will be a very heavy loser by the catastrophe. Roughly speaking, his insurances amount to about L. 2,400 and the stock in the yard was valued at L 4,000. Added to this must be the machinery and plant, which were estimated to be worth at least a couple of thousand pounds. Amongst the property destroyed was a number of plans and specifications, it will be impossible to replace. Altogether, this fire is one of the most disastrous that has taken place in Christchurch for some time. The origin of the disaster is entirely unknown.

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Bibliographic details

TWO BIG FIRES IN CHRISTCHURCH., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 528, 7 January 1882

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TWO BIG FIRES IN CHRISTCHURCH. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 528, 7 January 1882

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