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Approximately eighty men were engaged for several hours yesterday in a desperate battle with a grass and scrub fire that swept over Palmer Head and came within ten feet of an ammunition store before it could be checked. Forty special reservists and twenty artillerymen turned out from Fort Dorset- at 11.15 a.m. and raced to the .scene of the fire by motor-lorry and were later joined by a number of firemen and (Others. The fire had a good hold and the men had to work hard until after" 3 p.m. before it was extinguished. Another outbreak occurred at 7.30 last night, arid" the men had to work for an hour to extinguish it.

The fire in the morning commenced in the middle of the hillside and appeared to have been deliberately set alight. When the men arrived from Fort Dorset they were armed with sacks to beat out the flames, and Lieutenant L. W. Thornton, R.N.Z.A., who was in command, detailed twelve men to prevent the flames spreading to houses in the vicinity, while the remainder were instructed to make every endeavour to'prevent the fire reaching the ammunition store; The Fire Brigade was called, and the firemen helped to control the : fire in the vicinity of the houses.

In the meantime the fire travelled rapidly towards the ammunition store, and there appeared a possibility 'of sparks causing damage. The ventilators'of the store were' closed and the signal store. emptied, but it was riot until the flames had come within a few feet, of the buildings that they were turned aside.

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Bibliographic details

FIRE NEAR PORT, Evening Post, Volume CXXVII, Issue 79, 4 April 1939

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FIRE NEAR PORT Evening Post, Volume CXXVII, Issue 79, 4 April 1939

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