GREAT BUSH FIRE AT CARTERTON.
+ NARROW ESCAPE OF THE TOWN. WATER FALLS SHORT AT THE CRITICAL MOMENT. [by telegraph.] (from our own correspowdbkt.) Cartbrton, 10th January.
Yesterday the bash near Carterton caught fire, and the flames rapidly spread. Towardsthe evening the wind blew strongly In the direction of the town, end at 10 o'clock the buildings on the outskirts, including 1 the railWay station and telegraph offices, were in imminent danger. The settlers mustered la strong force, and worked like slaves to save the threatened buildings, relays of men witb wet blankets mounting the roofs to prevent the showers of sparks setting firs to the shingles* One house was on fire throe times, but the energetic action of the men prevented any serious damage being done. Soon afterwards the railway station, post office, police station, and several other buildings caught fire almost simultaneously, and it was only by almost superhuman efforts that they were saved from entire destruction. At this critical juncture water began to be scarce, and it was realised with dismay that the Maslerton engine, which had been sent for, would be of little or no use when it arrived, and the order was, therefore, countermanded. For a short time it Beamed a» if the town must bs given to the flames, for without water the efforts of the settler*- were of little avail, the wooden buildings having become so dry and heated thtt a spark wa» sufficient to set fire to them. Fortunately the wind, which had been coming in pufla for some time, suddenly fell, and, ro-invigorated by hope, the tired men once, core put forth every effort, and succeeded io driving the firs back from the most dangerous places. Thebush still burned furiously, but the wind keeping down, it did not spread, and the town was saved. A watch was set, and kept up all night, one party keeping the fire in check while the othor slept us well as they could, bnt . no further accident occurred. The illumination, was terribly grand. Acres of bush on both sides of the town were on fire, and presonted tho appearance of solid masses of flame, but thft damago done is very much slighter than might have been expected. As it is, the railway station contractor is the heaviest loser, the settlers' chief losses consisting in the fencing destroyed. The escape of the town was little short of miraculous, for when the wind fell theflames had all but reached several of the buildings nearest the bush To-day the weather it calm and intensely hot. The fire Is smouldering, but the great danger is past — indeed, little further damage may be anticipated should the wind keep down. An offi'ial report from Constable Connor states that the fire originated on tho clearing for the railway station, on which the uaeles* bush was being burned.
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