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Harraway’s flour and oatmeal mill, a wooden building that has stood as a prominent landmark in the Green Island district for the past twenty-three years, was totally destroyed by fire last night. The outbreak occurred at about twenty minutes or a quarter to eleven o’clock. Two hands were working in the mill during the evening, and about the time mentioned one of these, a lad named John Gray, was engaged in oiling the bearings of the duster—an apparatus on the third floor for taking black dust from oats when the lamp he was using dropped from his hand and set fire to some bagging used in connection with one of the shoots. The other hand, a man, was at the time working at the kiln, nowhere near where the fire broke out. Gray made a hurried attempt to suppress the fire as soon as he saw it, but finding that it was a serious matter he ran away for Mr Harraway, who had not left the premises. Mr Harraway endeavored to pull down the woodwork that was ablaze, and gave instructions to have water carried from the creek in buckets, but this was a slow process, as there were few people about to lend a hind, and the water had to be carried up two flights of stairs. But in a few momenta it became evident that the fire had a firm grip of the woodwork, and that if a hundred men were available for passing water the effort would have been fruitless. Mr Harraway and his assistants were soon forced to retire and leave the old wooden building to its fate ; and their attention was then turned to preventing the fire from spreading to the grain packed in the railway trucks on the siding. There were seven trucks on the line, six of them containing grain. These were removed out of harm’s way; and while this duty was being performed Mr James Harraway, his brother George, and Alexander Young broke into the office and succeeded in getting the safe out. This contained most of Mr Harraway’s papers, but a number of books and documents, temporarily overlaid with sacks of grain, had to be left. An effort was to be made to recover these late in the afternoon, and it is considered possible that they may be found not wholly destroyed. In the space of perhaps ten minutes from the time the alarm was given the mill was a mass of fire, and the wood being as dry as tinder, and a gale blowing from the southwest, the whole building was razed in less than an hour.

A five-roomed cottage, standing close to the mill, was also destroyed. It was occupied by one of the workmen named Thomas Ivl'Caughan. He succeeded in getting his wife and family out in time, but nearly all his furniture, which was uninsured, was burned.

For the last six years the mill had been worked by steam power, the water-wheel remaining in position, but being unused. The two boilers are situated a few yards to the southward of where the mill stood, and these are uninjured, though the brickwork of the building containing them is somewhat damaged. The kiln is also practically intact. It was enclosed with brick, and the fire did not last long enough to injure the kiln walls or the chimney stack, The engine is considerably knocked about, but, so far as our reporter could see, it is not a total loss; for, as a matter of fact, the pump was working this afternoon, The machinery proper is, however, completely ruined. The six pairs of stones and the whole of the wheatcrushing appliances, the oatmeal machinery, the smutter, the barley mill, the purifier—these are a perfect wreck. The loss in stock is also considerable. The mill was cbock-a-block with wheat, oats, and manufactured Hour and oatmeal, and the whole lot has been consumed or totally damaged. Most of this stuff belonged to Mr Harraway, only about thirty bags being the property of other people. The mishap has occurred at a most unfortunate time, just at the busiest period of the busiest season Mr Barraway has had for years past, and his loss by the stoppage of business will be heavy, apart from the actual loss by burning. There were thirteen hands engaged at the mill. The insurances are as follow:—On the building: National, L 750 (reinsured in the New Zealand and Union for L 250 each). On the machinery: Liverpool and London and Globe, LI,000; Phoenix, LSOO. On the stock ; Equitable, L 250 ; British and Colonial, L 25 0; National, LSOO (reinsured for L 250 in the South British and L 125 in the New Zealand). On workman’s cottage: National, LIOO. The insurances do not cover the loss by a very large sum, it being roughly estimated that the mill and stock together were not more than half insured. Mr Harraway is a wellknown and universally respected business man, and in his misfortune he will have the sympathy of a large circle of friends.

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Bibliographic details

FIRE AT GREEN ISLAND., Issue 7910, 18 May 1889

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FIRE AT GREEN ISLAND. Issue 7910, 18 May 1889

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