United Press Association—Per Electric Telegraph.
Thames, June 12. At three o'clock yesterday morning the Brian Boru Hotel, a two-storeyed building containing over forty rooms, was discovered to be on fire. The fire commenced m the large eastern wing, and the flames spread with, lightning-like rapidity along the passage of the upper storey, rendering the escape of the occupants difficult. The fire had obtained a firm hold whan the brigade appeared, and was only extinguished wh9n the whole of the upper portion was destroyed. The lower part of the building was completely gutted. Most of the inmates who escaped were clad m their night apparel, but two-Mr John McNab, a member of the firm of Mason and McNab, monumental masons, of Auckland, and Mr Joseph Sheldon, a bushman, from the Turua district, near Thames, were burned to death. Their bedrooms were situated m the portion of the building where the fire raged fiercest. When the fire was overcome the bodies of the unfortunate men were discovered m their rooms. McNab was partly dressed, and bad evidently been endeavouring to reach the door when he was overcome by the fumes to which he succumbed. The body, which was found alongside the bed, was partly burnt. Sheldon must have been asphyxiated with greater suddenness, aa the body was found lying" across the' bed, only slightly burnt. McNab was about fifty years of age, and leaves a wife and family m Auckland. Sheldon was single, and it is believed he had no relatives m the colony. Many of the inmates had narrowescapes, and lost everything, including a goodly quantity of jewellery and valuables. The hotel was owned and occupied by Mrs Kate Twohill, an old resident of Thames, and was only re-built a few months ago. The insurances on the building and furniture are not available. Thames, June 12 The insurance on the Brian Boru Hotel building was £1,500 m the Norwich Union, £700 m the Phoenix, £500 m the New Zealand; od the furniture, £500 m the Liverpool, London, and Globe. The furniture's estimated value is ,£1,500. The inquest on Peter McNab, not John McNab, as at first reported, and on Joseph Sheldon, was opened to-day. Formal evidence of identification was tendered. The medical evidence showed that both men died of suffocation. Both bodies were badly blistered. It is evident both were partially dressed, and were endeavouring to reach the door of their respective rooms when overcome by the dense smoke which poured from all parts of the building. The inquest and the fire inquiry have been adjourned, Nelson, June 13 A fire broke out at three o'clock yesterday morning m the stores of Messrs Eankin and Son's, at Motueka, and spread to the shop of Mr Kidson, the insurance office, and the Foresters' Hall. These were all completely destroyed, and the premises of Dejaney and King were aaved with great, difficulty. Mrßudman, of the Telegraph Office, was slightly burnt, Mr E. Richards was overcome by the heat and smoke while fighting the fire. Mr Rankin had over £100 m the safe. On opening it some of the books were found to be decipherable, and tho numbers of some of the notes were ascertaioable. The insurances are not known yet, and the damage ia nob estimated. Nelson, June 12 The insurances on the Motueka fire were:—Rankin & Son, main building, £400 m the South British; stock £1,500 m the New Zealand, The loss is Jargely m excess of the insurance, The grain store was insured for £200. The dressmaking department and implements were not insured. A large quantity of the stock was saved. Knapp had a policy of £200, and the Foresters' Hall £250 m the New Zealand, 'ihe building is valued at £500.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6593, 12 June 1905
FIRES. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6593, 12 June 1905
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