BLUFF RESERVOIR BURSTS
PORTION OF TOWN FLOODED. FIFTEEN HOUSES DAMAGED AND SEVEN BUSINESS PLACES. LOSS OF OVER £IO.OOO. [Special to thk Stak.] BLUFF, Ja.ni.iary 22. The Bluff Harbor Board reservoir, full to the brim, as the result of over Sin of rain during tho last 24 hours, burst at 5.50 to-night, and over 6.000.000 gal of water swept through Western Bluff, doing thousands of pounds worth of damage. Thero was —No Loss of Life, — but several persons had narrow escapes, one- (".Mrs Bullar) being caught and knocked about beforo being rescued. Tho reservoir is situated at an altitude of 500 ft, at tho back of the town, and from that height a terrifying torrent swept down n. gully and flooded every house, across a width of 200 yds. The only indication was a rumble, and a sound like an engine blowing off steam. Then came, the deluge, with an awe-inspiring roar that .sent tho people to their doors, .and they got out in the —Nick of Time.— The residences of Mr M'Lcan and Mr H. Bttrtenshaw got it first, and the water simply raced through, the passageways 6ft high. A "vvashhouso was lifted bodily off its piles, and tossed like a cork in the torrent right across a chain reserve and over two hedges. The residence of Mr O. Stagg, on the, east, side of the reserve, was the centre of a rushing mass 4ft high, hut the inmates had got out just in time. The verandah was ripped oft Jike a. pfWe of paper. The flood next smashed up Mr J. Stalker's six-roorned dwelling, turning it practically inside out. Mr W. Ballantyne also received the ftdl force of the water, but was more happily situated, and did nut get the full rush in the. interior. Messrs W. Uullars, W. Bennetts, and R. 0. Fry's houses, right in the lino of tho channel, and facing the bowling grecm, tennis courts, and cricket ground, —.Suffered Severely.—
The overflow creek passes Bullae's in the ordinary course of events, and this house received the full volume. It was partly lifted off. its piles, and everything inside was smashed (o pieces. Mrs Bullars was billed out, bvifc rushed back to get some valuables 100 late. The water caught her in the passageway and carried her out of the house, turning her over, and knocking her against boards, posts, and other debris. Trooper Wadcle.l. of the Southland reinforcements, p luckily rushed into the. section at much risk, and pulled out. the unfortunate woman, bruised and soaked. but otherwise all right. The house was completely ruined. J]'r Bennetts fared a little- better, but hundreds of pounds worth of damage was done to the house and furniture. MiFry's place was swilled out, but no structural damage resulted. The water
—Rushed Across tho Reserve, — and tore huge gaps into the north edge of the cricket ground. The whole place was like a flooded river in a few seconds. Bight through Mr J. Hunter's house, M'Kenzie's builder's -shop. Hankinson's foundry, and the J. G. Ward grain stores swept " the deluge. The bowling green diverted the edge of the flood past Pon Dip's laundry, which escaped with the proverbial Chinaman's luck. Tho increasing width of the torrent proportionately "reduced tho depth, but. the, front doors of Ward and Co.'s grain store backed up the water 6ft high as it rusehd in tho back of the truck siding. Ha>:kinson's foundry was also swept thro-ugh, but the iron walk seemed to split the riow. Kingsland's foundry (brick) got off lightly, and likewise Steel's boot shop, only about a foot of water going through them. Tho water then
—Spread Over the Railway Yard—and into the harbor. Messrs R. Bigwood's and T. Pret-.ton's residences were also filled to a. depth of loin. The main street and railway yard banked up the _ wit or, knee deep over a block and a-half, gaining ingress to John Mill and Co.'s stores, Vickery's butcher's shop, a disused foundry, and into the New Zealand Shipping Company's -siding, the water actually lapping against the Eagle Hotel opposite the railway station. The water continued to —Pour Down tho Valleylike a, siuicc for an hour, although it gradually subsided. Tho scene in every stroet affected was pitiable. The occupiers of the houses, mostly laboring people, have sustained a. loss that is to them ineparable. The 105.3 in tho business, premises is also a. heavy one, particularly Wsvvd and Co.'s. In this stove, a railway truck in the siding had its floor smashed up hv tho force* oi tho flow, and fhe heavy front door hashed oat into the street. Fart of t lie iron store at the. back wat> twisted right round, and 1,000 sacks of oats and 100 boles of gunnies were rendered practically worthless, being tossed ahout into all sorts of heaps. At Mill and Co.'s the platform was just high, enough, to save, several, thousands of pounds worth of woo! and hemp, about 100 t?.cks of gram, and a. quantity "f canities. -Although tho water entered the New Zealand Shipping Company's siding it did no damage to the —-The Damage,— including the cost of rebuilding the reCservoir wall, varies between £1.0,000 and ! £12,000. Altogether 15 private, houses were damaged, ><v<>u seriously, unci seven business premises. The* bowling green, is covered with about Bin. of sill, and will bo unplayable? for the rest of tho season. At the tenuis court the iron fence saved it from beiu- totally The public roerve and streets are covered with hedge tr*cs. drowned fowls, new potatoes, and pieces of furniture as graphic evidence of the destruction wrought. The wall of I the reservoir had only been raised so mo months ago. and th.e soil with which the increased height was effected does not. appear to have set properly, and was apparently eaten avray by the overflow from the heaviest and most consistent rainfall ever experienced in the Bluff. The -•■ Port Is Now Without Wafer—for either fire or shipping purposes. The vain continues lightly, awl the reservoir j is now empty. The water tore a huge | gap in the eastern part of the wall, removing a third of it. The satisfacfoiy feature is that there was no joss of life, as there, would assuredly havo been had it occurred at night. As it was., most of tho families were at tea, and. there was no one in the business premises. RUINED HOMES. A DEAD LOSS. [Special to the Star.] BLUFF, .January 23. Matter* "re. normal this morning, and there is only a wide stretch of silt, inches deep. to mark the course taken by the water. The houses are in an indescribable state, particularly Mr Stalker's, which is a complete wreck. In many of thorn the furniture and crockery have been crushed to pieces and embedded under the silt. J. G. Ward and Co. estimate the loss of grain and the structural damage to their grain stores at £3,000, against which, of course, there is no insurance. The only grain saved was above the 6ff level. Mr Bennett, one of the victims, has lost, amongst his other effects, a piano worth £IOO.
Hankinson's foundry had been slightly fleodad ss a. Vesult of th« heavy rain early iu the morning, but tin staff had made everything; ship-shape, and reflooding seemed an impossibility. This was a mere, baptism t.o the deluge which followed the bursting of the reservoir. As nothing was insured against floods, all the damage me;ins_ a dead loss to all concerned. The liability (or otherwise) of tho Bluff Harbor Board is, however, a matter which i,s being keenly discussed by the victims.
The official rainfall registered by the Oovernmei\,t rain gauge was 3.osin"in 35 hours, of which only 18 hours were niinjasu This is a rctcrd lor Bluffy
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BLUFF RESERVOIR BURSTS, Evening Star, Issue 15708, 23 January 1915