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GREAT DAMAGE IN HAWKE'S BAY DISTRICT.

onr reporter waa Informed tbat two settlera had been burned out during the night. On the return journey oue of tbeae settlers was met at Smiths siding, and on being questioned as to his locs, aald, " Oh, no, It Is not aa bad as tbat. I was not burnt ont, I have been watohlti-j the house for three days and three nights without sleeping, but I think the fire haa gone past me now, 1 had my fence, pigstye, and poultry home burnt, togothor with tbe fowls." Then with grim humor be remarked) " Had I known earlier that yon were oomlßg through I oonld have given you roaat fowl for breakfast,"

THE FINE PIRI PIRI BLOCK DESTROYED. BUSH FROM MAKOTUKU SOUTHWARDS FIERCELY BURNING. (FROM OUR SPECIAL REPORTER.) The bash firea whioh have beon burning more or less fieroely tor a week pant, spread with aaoh greet rapidity on Friday night aud Saturday oa to causo serious alarm tor the safety of many cf the small townuhlpß along this Bide of thollne. Information was received In town on Saturday evening that tclegraphio comn-mnlaaiion was iotennpted between Makotuku and Dauevirko, through sevornl of the telegraph poles haviug boon burnt, As Buoh Interruption meani not only uetlona Inconvenience to tbe publio, but greatly Interfered with the railway authorities in their working of the railway, the oblrf olerk of the traffic* department, Mr Fails, decided to despatoh a apeolal train late on Saturday night for the purpose of oonveylng Mr Harrington, officer ip chargo of tbe Telegraph Department, dud hia assistants to thesoaneof the break, and also to aaeertaln if any of the railway rolling stook or bridges were damaged or ln danger. In response to an invitation from Mr Farls, a representative of the Hawkes Bay Hbiui.d and Messrs John and K. Holt, jun., were also passengera, Leaving Nopier at 11 35 pm„ ehe party aoon began to realiae that they were exchanging the torrid atmosphere of the troploa for something very like an Atotio winter, for before Waipawa waa reaohed there waa enoountered a north-east gale of oon-. alderable severity, while the weather was bitterly oold. Approaching Takapau In the darkest houra of Sunday morning, the firat glimpse of the fire belt was obtained, for the small remnant of bash at the baok of the townabip waa bnrnlng brightly, though too far away from habitations to be a source of muoh anxiety to tbe realdents there. A short bait waa oalled here while waiting the result of arrangements, made by speoial messenger, to detain a ballast train then on its way north from Danevirke, When thia had been satis(aotorlly settled tho train onoe more moved on, juat oa the suo, like a huge blood-red bail of fir?, was seeu thiough the thiok emoke hfza. The bnah near Ormondville bad caught, though not to any gieat extent, but when Makotuku waa reaohed a very different aspeot of affairs waa seen, For tbe whole distanoe between Makotuku to beyond Plil Pirl, near Danevirke. the buah on both sides of the Hue wss burning fieroely. Gould one have traversed on Friday night the oountry between Makoluku and Wellington be would have witnessed a alght wbloh bus probably had no previous parallel la the history of thiß oolony— that of an almost unbroken obaln of burning bush extending over 150 milea in length and covering a vast area of country, Ie wou'd be Impossible for pen lo convey an adequate Idea of the icene wbloh auoh a Bpeolsole makes at night. Even in the abort epaco of a mile or two could ba aeen what looked like myriads of huge torches and Innumerable Bm ill bonfires, tbo whole forming a brilliant lllnmlnatlon. It la uot to be wondered that what striken the cwual observer as a beautiful pioture should be regarded from a point of view altogether differently by those moat interested, To the bush settler, battling day after day, night after night, with qalet dogfied oourage, lor the safety of hia iiomo, a bash fire has too praocical a reality for him to study it through tbe tpi.oliF.elea of tbe Idealist, So leaving out tbe latter aepiob of the question, the party thought only of Ihe terrible devastation tbe fire bae wrought, At Makotuku the township Itielf had not escaped eoathleas. A block of bulldioga, situated juat at the back of the railway goods shed, oo.pslettDg of a butcher's shop with three tenements attaohed, aod an lion-roofed 6hed, all belonging to Mr Robjohns of Napier, wore burnt down, the Anglican Church was aleo demolished, not even tbe organ belog aaved, Mesers Hull, Gaerjon, and aeveral others lost outbuildings, though they euooeeded In saving their houses. The publio library and dlatrlob aoboolboaee were botb on fire during Saturday, bnt the fl imea were qniokly extinguished by willing helpers, Almost every reul« dent of tbe diatriot had paoked bis fnrnUuie ready for speedy removal ln the event of his honse goiDg. Mr Ashley, who ocoupled one of tbe houses burnt near tbe station, succeeded io eavlo. bla furniture and etTeots. Meiars iioblnsOD, Soboles, Westell, Hall, and a number ot others did yeoman ser* viae in watobli g and subduing the (lames. When viewed at 11 am. on Sucday, Wilding's mill was nntouohed, though, aa the bush Is burning all round it, tbe watchers are ailll anxious. Smith's aldicg, J36t past Makotuku, ia burnt to the ground ar.d 200.000 ft of Bawn timber, whioh wbb oiortd there, bea also gone. Mr Gamman . bonne at Makotuku It Is thought will go, unless there Is a change ln the dlreotlon of the wind, The Waikopiro Blook la on fire In many places, and it la eoueldercd certain tbat come of the houses there bave been burnt. Between Smith's aiding and P!ri Pirl five telegraph poles bed been levelled to tbe ground, ln some Instances ao reoently before the train passed that the arms of the polea were att'l burning under the Insulatora though only hanging to the wires. , Threo wires were down, Inoluding tbe I Auckland wire, Passing the Mangate-Walnnl ravine, the bush was found to be burning fiercely, and a householder there had evidently prepared for a sudden Hit, for tho furniture WSB stacked outßlde nt some distance from the house. At Matamau Anderson and Jackson'B tramway was burning, and noorlog Plil Plrl a great heap of aaw dust wsb sendicti fsrtb columns of amoke, At the Plrl Plrl eldtog, however, the full foroe of the fire had been felt. The whole of the ralll balldlnga, stables, and shed!, hud boon oornplotcly destroyed, together with five portable engines, aud tho valuable mill plant and maohinery wbloh waa lylci- ou tbo ground, bnokled and twisted almost out of recognisable shope. Two Immense stacks of Blab timber, over 40 feet In height, had been consumed, and the embers wore still burning. Tha (ire reaohed these Blacks at about midnight on Saturday, and Danovlike residents who witnessed the immense volumes of fhmn which Bhot up Into the air, aoy it was the fineat Bight they had cvtr seen. Tbo mill lb was Impossible to Bave, and of the man*; houses wbiah plaster rather thickly In tbla part, ODly one, that ocoupled by Mr Peroy Arrow clerk at' the sawmills, wan burnt down, Mr Arrow was particularly unfortunate, his wife having been very 111 on Fildoy last, and on the following day tho fire oanght the i house. In the removal of Mrs Arrow to c I place of safety, and ln the shifting of the furniture, the fumea obtained suoh a hole on the house that It was completely burnt The furniture, which had been plao:d bj the roadsfdo, wa'a afterw.rds burnt, bj sparks irom tbe mill, Tbe furniture from lha other house had been removed to a Rreater distanoe, I and was apparently quite safe, Amongst I thobe who rendered' valuable assistance I were Meiers G, Grant, R, Brlghoaee, and W. Mean, ten, Some had been stored ln the Matamau tehool-hona?, while the reminder lined >>oth Bldea of the main roart to Danevlrko and alpo tbe Matamau road. A miscellaneous collection of artlo'e**, enob ob tulles of furniture, oher-ta if drawers, dnphess pairs, tables, chain, bodateada, bloyole**, an Amerloan organ, kitohen utensils, and bundles of olotblr.g were to be Been for several hundred yaida along the road, It Ib Impossible yet to eat'mate the lota sustained either by Mr Hilt or by tbe workmen, but la tbe oase of former the Item must be considerable, co there is no insurance, Icqniriea made in Danevlike aa to tbe fate of cettlers ot Umutaoroa failed to elicit any authentic Information, llt waa ascertained tbat at least three settlers had lost their homes, wbllo rumor placed the total number who had suffered la thin way at (even or eight. Through the distriot being ao very muoh scattered It la difficult to aay exaotly what tbe lossbb aro. The railway authorities deserve oredit for tho manner In wblch tbey bave BOted In thia trying emergenoy. Not only hae tbe time table been adhered to as olotely aa possible, considering tbe Interruptions, but tbe aafety of tbe Hoea and rolling stook was a'so olcsß'y studied. Small gangs of men were stationed at eaoh bridge on the Una, wibh buckets of water, ready to extinguish r>py Incipient fireß whioh might atart. The atatt' were kept busy at work shifting the rolling Btook from plaoes of danger, and it sayß muoh for tbe thoroughness with wbloh they did their work that at Pltlplrl some of the trucks were removed while the fire wsb raging alongside. In running the speolal too, wbloh enabled Mr Harrington and bla men to repair the telegraph iine so Expeditiously, the department showed itself eajual to the occasion, as bad they not done so commnrilaatlon oould not have been restored till Tuesday night, Tbe danger of further los-ea li by no means over yet. Should a wind spring up to scatter the embers of tbe slabs at Phi Plrl soaroely any thing oan save theboußtß there, while the fire is burning so densely at Smith's siding end Makotuku that aeveral plaoes are enveloped lo a wall of fire which may at any moment catch aome of the bu;}dlrgj. It is known tbat there have been louses of etock at several places, but to what extent (s at present only o*_j?o'ure, I An looldent wbloh occurred yeaterday shows what stoical nod philosophic oalmneiß the near presence of danger frequently Indnoes. rVbcn tbe train fffttved at Makotoku on the way south

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/HBH18980117.2.26.1

Bibliographic details

GREAT DAMAGE IN HAWKE'S BAY DISTRICT., Hawke's Bay Herald, Volume XXXIII, Issue 10815, 17 January 1898

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1,761

GREAT DAMAGE IN HAWKE'S BAY DISTRICT. Hawke's Bay Herald, Volume XXXIII, Issue 10815, 17 January 1898

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