After several warnings, which do not appear to have induced the taking of any steps for providing the town with water, a fire has at length occurred which caused the entire destruction of a house and property, and, had the wind been blowing at the time as it had blown for several days preceding, no human power could have prevented the destruction of a considerable portion of the town.
On Tuesday morning, at about half-past six o'clock, the fire-bell gave the alarm, and, within a few minutes, a numerous assemblage was gathered in Trafalgarstreet and square, rendering assistance to quench a fire, which was burning the house occupied by Mrs. Scaife. But so strong a hold had the flames obtained of the building, that before the engine could be brought to bear, the house was completely gutted, and every article in it destroyed. So rapid, in fact, was the destruction, that, within half-an-hour of the first alarm having been given, the house was burned to the ground. Seeing nothing more could be dbne than to prevent the fire spreading beyond the house in which it had broken out, and which fortunately was a detached one, the efforts of many persons were directed to the removal of the furniture from the houses of Dr. Williams and Mr. Levien, which were in so much danger that the former was severely scorched, while a room at the back of Mr. Levietfs, and used aa lii 9 wine-cellar was, with its contents, destroyed ; further mischief to this building was prevented by the alacrity with which some small outbuildings were taken away, and from the fact that the house waa roofed with galvanized iron tiles. The roof of the Union Sank also caught fire, but was speedily extinguished.
The fire is presumed to have been caused by some live embers having fallen through the hearth, and which must have been smouldering for some time. Mrs. Scaife was up at five o'clock, on Tuesday morning, for the purpose of driving some strayed cattle out of her garden, and then saw no symptom of fire. She got up again at about half past six, and then, fancying she smelt fire, went to the sitting room door which was khut ; the handle of it feeling warm she opened it when, instantly, a body of flame burst forth, which singed her face and hair, and caused her to make a speedy retreat without the possibility of saving anything.
Comment on the great alacrity evidenced by all must be unnecessary seeing that so many persons attended within a few minutes of their having heard the alurm bell. The Volunteer Fire Brigade, as on former occasions, worked and with a will that but showed what they could and would have done bad they but possessed a sufficiently powerful engine and water with which to supply it. While the fire brigade were pumping and using every effort to prevent the spread of the fire, a large number of persons formed themselves into line to pass the buckets of water along, while others fetched water from various places. Indeed we may say that every one seemed anxious to do what was possible to prevent the spread of destruction.
A list, very handsomely subscribed to, was started early in the morning and we believe that a liberal sum was contributed ; this will, to an extent, compensate Mrs. Scaife for her loss which must be very heavy, seeing that literally nothing has been saved although there were musical instruments in her house worth some £500.
The following requisition, having 174 signatures, was yesterday morning taken by a deputation for presentation to his Honour the Superintendent ; but, as they did not succeed in seeing him, they, after having called twice at the Government Buildings, left it at his office, and expressed a hope that speedy steps would be taken to comply with the request :—
"To his Honour the Superintendent.
" Sib — We, the undersigned owners of property in the City of Nelson, respectfully request that you will be pleased, without delay, to summon a public meeting of the inhabitants ot Nelson, with a view to consider the inadequate supply of water to this town."
Escape from Fibe. — A narrow escape from fire occurred on Monday evening, and one which, had there been a breeze blowing, would most probably have caused very serious damage, possibly the destruction of the Government Wharf. A foul chimney, at the office of the Inter-colonial Royal Mail Company was, we believe, its cause, as sparks of suot on fire were seen lying on the roof of that office, this caused an alarm to be given, and fortunately prevented the occurrence of any damage. . Exhibition op Jewellery.— We would advise those persons who have not seen the splended assortment of jewellery now on view and for sale at Mr. Moore's sale rooms, to lose no time in so doing, as we are informed by Mr. Lewisson that he will positively close his. stock on Saturday next, it being his intention to visit the surrounding neighbourhood, and it may be some time before we again have the opportunity of a choice from so large a selection.
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Local Intelligence., Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume XXI, Issue 69, 13 August 1862
Local Intelligence. Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume XXI, Issue 69, 13 August 1862
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