The Wairarapa Bush Fires.
Haßtwell was visited on December Blst with an alarming bush fire, which proved very destructive to property and stoisk. Several settlers were completely burnt ouE, and' had narrow escapes with their lives. ... Several men, women and children were severely burnt, and had to take refuge in Mauriceville North. To reach that place they had to pass through the flames. > The McGregor family are the greatest sufferers, losing everything. Mrs McGregor waa severely burnt in trying to save her seven children, who also suffered from the flames. One boy, who was burnt about the body, is in serious danger. The father had hard work to save them all. The family is in great distress. Three large sawing and planing mills in the neighbourhood of Carl terton were destroyed by fire the same day during the prevalence of strong westerly gales. Mr Francis' mill at Taratahi West caught fire about 2.80 p.m. There were five men at work there at the time, and they did what they could to save property, but their efforts were futile. They saw the smoke coming towards them from the adjoining bush, and in less than twenty minutes they ware surrounded with fire and had to run for it. . The plant at the mill was all new, and Mr Francis' loss is over £1000,
exclusive of 80,000 ft of timber, the valuable bush which, green as it was, was burnt, 800 sheep and other stock. Five wbares and all the men'n effects, were destroyed alf«o. About the same hour Mr Udy'a mill at Sourh Cur^rton was destroypd by firep, which had spread from burning logs a distance off Mr Udy's house, which caught alight • hree times, was saved with diffi cutty. Several miles of fences were de-tr »yefl, and many acres of grass and grain cr<<pq. . About 4 p.m. Mr W. Burt'a saw and planing mills at West Taratahi took fire, and were completely gutted. A large staok of timber, the men's whares, and all their effects were burnt. Two men working at the mills had barely time to escape in what they stood up in. None of the properties were insured. A heavy fall of rain hag removed all further danger;from the spread of the fires. Most disastrous bush fires have been raging in tbe vicinity of Master* ton and) throughout' the district generally. ■• Mr Berrill's sawmill, Mr F. Shaw's homestead and Mr J. Sykes' wool* shed were burnt to the ground. At Mikimiki the bridge was totally destroyed. Fences were all burned, and the ground laid bare for miles. At Matahiwi Messrs Holmes Bro9. had 400. acres of grass burnt. Several settlers were burnt out at Hast well, and had narrow escapes of their lives, many being severely burnt. There has been great destruction of stock and property at Eketahuna. The residences of Messrs Cartwright and Inghey were burnt, also Mr Hawkins' mill, Mr Nicol's out* buildings, and "Mr Cruickshank's premises. A large traffic bridge on the Masterton road is destroyed. Heavy rain has now set in. Very heavy damage has been done in the Forty-mile Bush district. Harding'? mill at Eketahuna haß been burnt, and so has a traffic bridge on the Eketahunft-Masterton .road. Several bush fires have occurred around Danevirke. ■- y-^ Gundries' sawmill, Mangatera, Wis destroyed the same day.
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