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FIRE IN HIGH STREET.

Shortly after half-past six o'clock last evening the Licbfield street fire-bell gave the alarm of fire, which was speedily taken up by the Market-place station and responded to with commendable alacrity by the men of the brigade. At first it was stated that the fire was in Tuam street, but the dense volumes of smoke pouring across High street in front of the new buildings of Messrs Strange and Co. soon showed the locality of the fire, which proved to be in the shop of Mr Hulbert, hatter and hosier, High street, bounded on the westward by Morton's Commercial Hotel, and to the eastward by the Dunedin Club Hotel, both buildings being of wood and built quite close up to the burning shop. From what we can learn of the outbreak of the fire, the place was closed at the usual hour, six o'clock, Mr Hulbert not residing on the premises. Shortly after that hour, smoke was observed by some of the residents in Morton's Hotel to be issuing from the top story windows, mainly from that nearest Morton's Hotel, in which the finishing of the hats was, we believe, conducted. So soon asthis was observed, the alarm was given from the Lichfield street fire bell and quickly answered. The Dreadnought hand engine was the first to put in an appearance, the speed with which this was got to the fire being highly commendable. Mr Superintendent Harris at once saw the danger of the fire spreading through a closely built "block of wooden buildings, and with great foresight and judgment ordered the hose from the hand engine, which had been placed in position at Matheson's tank, to be laid down the entrance to Mr Page'a stables, and thence' up a right of way to the back of the burning shop. This was done, and the fire was thus checked in rear, and prevented from spreading to the pile of small outhouses in the rear, which if ones caught, wonld have carried the fire right round the entire block.

Three steamers were speedily on the ground, the Deluge being second, followed by the Pioneer am' the Extinguisher. As has been the case at previous fires, we have again to remark upon the unfitness of the horses attached to the Market Place engine. Last evening they were nnable to take it at a greater speed than a man could ran without harrying himself very much. Notwithstanding this drawback, the whole plant was in position and at work in nineteen minutes after the alarm had been given, which was exceedingly creditable. The Dreadnought and Deluge were stationed at Mathesoa's tank, and the Extinguisher at Wilson and Sawtell's, with two branches from each. Of course, the great effort of Mr Harris was to save the buildings on each side of Hulbert's, and to confine the fire within the narrowest limits. Aided by the efforts of his men and officers, to whom, as a whole, too much praise cannot be given fos the sdmirable manner in which they worked and battled inch by inch with the flames for the mastery, Mr Harris succeeded in doing this. Several times the fire burst through the weather-boarding on the side next to the Dunedin Club hotel, and threatened to defy the utmost efforts ot the firemen to extinguish it. However, by dint of playing one branch from the top of the Dunedin Club and the other from the level of the street the danger was averted. Beaten back on this side the flames next came through the roof, and threatened to reach Morton's Hotel and the email etore occupied by McConnell Brothers next door. A lodgment was, however, effected on the verandah by the firemen, and through the front windows a volnme of water was played upon the mass of flame in the apper story. This had the desired effect, and in a short space of time the brigade were masters of the situation. Only a very small portion of the stock in trade of Mr Hulbert, which was a very large and valuable one, estimated at £2000, "was got out, the remainder being either burnt or damaged by water to such an extent as not to be saleable. So far as we can ascertain the insurances are as follows:—Building, £50, in the New Zealand; stock, £400 in the National, and £600 in the South British. Mr Hulbert estimates his loss at close upon £1000. The work done by the brigade last night deserves more than passing notice when we come to consider that they were able to confine the fire within such, narrow limits'in a closely-built portion of the town, and in the face of the buildings themselves being of the very flimsiest and slightest construction. Had the fire once been allowed to get firm bold of the block the deftxuctioa of property

jwould hare been enormous, and the citizens of Chrietchuroh have to thank the energy,, pluck, and determination of the Fire Brigade, added to the wisdom shown by the Superintendent, for being spared a most se< ions calamity. The fire police under Captain Mitchell, and the regular police under Mr Inspector Buckley, were early on the ground, and rendered signal service by keeping a clear space for the firemen to work in. Beyond some trifling damages to windows, and the consequent damage arising from the water, the other portions of the block were uninjured.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/CHP18750312.2.19

Bibliographic details

FIRE IN HIGH STREET., Press, Volume XXIII, Issue 2982, 12 March 1875

Word Count
903

FIRE IN HIGH STREET. Press, Volume XXIII, Issue 2982, 12 March 1875

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