DESTRUCTIVE FIRE AT CHRISTCHURCH.
(by keeotbic telegraph.) A destructive fire occurred in Colombo-street, on Saturday morning, April 6. The fire broke out about 1 a.m. The back premises of the following stores were destroyed, and the main buildings considerably damaged :—Jameson, grocer; Lane, butcher; Coates, jeweller; Prince, china and glass dealer; Phillijps, draper ; Dwyer, tobacconist; nnd Gee, confectioner. Bruce's stables were damaged. One building was totally destroyed, and but for an almost total absence of wind, the destruction must have been fearful. The buildings occupied by Mr. Jameson are insured in the London and Lancashire office for £1200; the stock in the Victoria for £800. The damage to the former is estimated at £2000, and to the latter, at over £500. Messrs. Lane's premises were insured in the North British for £800. The damage is very considerable. Mr. Coates' stock and premises were insured in the Eoyal for £2000. Mr. Prince's in the New Zealand for £800. Mr. Phillips* stock and premises for £400 in the London and Lancashire. Miss Dwyer's stock and premises in the same office for £200. _ Mr. Gee's premises and stock in the !New Zealand for £1000. Mr. Gee, who roughly estimated his loss at about £500, accepted a cheque tendered on Saturday for £400. , ' Messrs. Bruce and Co. in the Liverpool and London for £1500. The origin of the fire is not known. The damage done, including everything, is from £4000 to £5000. THE LATE BUSH FIRE IN TARANAKI. Tee following is an extract from a letter received from Taranaki, dated April 1: — l " Omata, April 1, 1867. "The great fire here has done us a great deal of niischief; it burnt down almost half the fencing on the place. Seven or eight houses are said to have been .burnt throughout the range of the fire, which i extended from the Waitara to the Oakara, a distance of eighteen miles. It burnt little or much in every clearing, destroying hedges, fence?, &c. Mr. Wait and Mr. Oliver are ruined, their houses being destroyed, and great damage done to their property. The whole bush part of the country was like one vast scene of conflagration, and could almost be compared to the prairie fires in America. Previous to the breaking out of this fire, we had a long spell of fine weather, seven weeks, only once or twice a short sprinkle of rain. Our neighbors, as well as ourselves, took advantage of this dry weather to burn up the grass which was left after thrashing out the seed, and rubbish generally. I and our man set fire to some heaps of grass, &c, which lighted the stumps and. logs near; these'carried on the fire until it extended over the whole of the clearing behind the house, kindling every stump and log. We "were three whole days watching and trying to check the spread of the fire. , " The day after we had succeeded in putting out Our fires, another fire extended from Mr. Wright's in: the bush, lighting Mr. Berridge's clearing, taking Mr; Touet's and Mr. John Shaw's, and then seizing! hold of everything that would burn in the" front part of our farm ; and then presently extending to the bush behind the house, putting our houses and stacks in imminent danger. A strong south-east wind from the mountain was blowing most terrifically all tho time 5, that ia, for three days and nights, Yerj^tibn! the was. withjn a few yards of our hp™&%pd a
this additional calamity to.all our other troubles. A stump within two yards of the house .was on fire for some time, the sparks flying over the house by hundreds at a time. lam afraid the fire has destroyed our beautiful belt of bush behind the house! " Everyone has felt the effects of the fire more or ■ less, as it raged for so long, and for so great a distance. I can assure you it was awful. The worst of it was, we had no help for ourselves, but to remain in the heat and smoke; the air feeling like a furnace. The smoke was so bad that we could see but a few yards arpund us, and oftentimes we were obliged to lie down flat on the ground, for fear of being suffocated. The midnight hour brought us comfort; the wind dropped, the fire slackened, and we went to bed with a feeling of comparative safety."
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