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SERIOUS LOSS OF LIFE AND PROPERTY. Without m any way exaggerating, we may fay that South Canterbury was yesterday Tisited by the heaviest north-west gnle which hai Tisited the district eince if» settlement. It commenced early m the morning, but lulled somewhat about 9 o'clock, and people then expected nothing worse than the usual amount of dust which is invaiiubly whisked about the town by hot winds from that particular quarter. Shortly aft»r 10 o'clock, however, it again began to strengthen, and m half an hour it was blowing with really terrific violence. Clouds of du«t, gravel, and debrii filled the heated air, until it w»s almost suffocating. All the doors of the shop* and other business premises m the town bad to bo closed, and windows fastened down, *nd no one ventured outside if he could possibly avoid it. The gulo continued to increase m furco until about 11.30 o'clock, when the majority of people began to feel somewhst uneasy iiud uncomfortable. From this time, however, the wind rnoder»ted, and though it did not drop altogether till between 5 and 6 p.m. iti strength wai exhausted. So dense was the dust from 10.30 to 11.30 a.m. thnt for minutes at a time it was quite impossible to see across the street, while large pebblei kept dashing againit the windows threatening every moment to smash them to atoms. As soon as possible, everybody eallied outside to find out what damage was done, and the first news which reached the ears of townspeople was that two persons had been killed. Further enquiry resulted m the following particulars being obtained of the mournful accident : — About 11.30 o'clock, and when the gale was at its worst, Mr Drew (m the employ of Mr Ormsby at the Belford Flour Mill) left the mill to go home. His house is one of two thrpe roomed concrete lean-tos situated m North-street, just behind the mill. As he entered the wicketgate, he noticed the roof of the hou-e lifting. He immediately battened inside, and as he entered the door he caw his wife rush towards lh« fire-place, where the youngest child — a baby only seven months old — was asleep m a chair. Just as she caught the little creature up m her arms the roof blew off, and | the chimney fell inwards with a crash, and, striking Mrs Drew on the back, buried her aud the baby m it* ruins. Mr Drew frantically

eifrted himsvlf m removing t lie debris, jCI arnongs* which was a. huge solid block, from ; 9t . off his wif-, un I by dint of great labor, aud ; the as-istanci' of others who hastened to th- m house, coon reVased her. The infant \va« to ■ ro all appearances quite dead, wh;l> SltjDcw : m w<n evidently seriou'ly injured. Mrdv-al ■g, help wai at once sent for, Ur Williums arriv- j „( ing m n feir minutes, an I Dr Macintyre im- j cc mediately afterwards. Life was pronounced I n to be quite extinct m the baby, while the w mother was so terribly crushed übout j,j the bark and lungs that she only lived ten n( minute' after being extricated. Subsequently the bodies were removed to the Commercial Hotel, where an inquest will be held at 11.30 a.m. today. Mrs Drew was 37years of age, and, we believe, with her husband had only lately arrived from Christchurch. Mr Drew, as may be icragined, is completely prostrated by the dreadful blow, and one and all will join with us m tendering our sincerest sympathy to him m his sad bereavement. It seems that the roof of the lenn-to was timplv niiled to plates which rested on the walls without m any way being fastene.i. The portion of the chimney above tho roof was carried off with it, while that beneath, down to the mantel-piece, fell inwards and crushed Mrs Drew and her infant. The whole building must have been very badly constructed. In addition to this lost of life, a great deal of damage hat been done to property m different parti of the town and suburbi. At Sandietown an unoccupied lean-to wat lifted completely off its foundation and blown down into a gu'ly below. In the southern suburbs one strong brick house had two gable ends blown m ; a cottage had its wooden roof lifted off, and carried 100 yards away ; tome galvanised iron sheets, forming a fence, wore ■cattered and twisted about lik-i parchment. Besides these accidents innumerable accounts have reached vi of outhouses, chiuineyt, and fences levelled, windows blown m, an t trees torn up by the roots. LEVELS PLAINS. On the Levels Plains a largo number of stacks and fences have been blown down, while a rumor wbb current m town last evenim that two houses had been levelled on the Waitohi, but it requires confirmation. ST. ANDBHW3. The railway station at St. Andrews had a narrow escape. It was moved considerably off its piles, and threatened for somo time to capsize altogether. GBEALDINE. Our special correspondent at Geraldine telegraphed at eight oYlock last evening as follows: — "A fire broko out m the Raukapuka bush between 12 »nd 1 o'clock tD-day, on Mr Whtttaker's section. It is supposed to have originated from somo old stumps being burnt off on the neiv road now being formed by contractors named Jorgenson and Gripp. The fire had covered about 50 acres up to 6 o'clock. It is still making head-way through MrW.I. llacdonnld's maiden bush. Gore's bush is still all clear bo fur." WAIMATB. From our Waimate correspondent, we, late laßt evening, received the following intelligence: — For the last two or three days a serious fire has been burning m the Waimate bußh, but thit morning at about 10 o'clock the wind rose to a gale from the N.W., and the fire spread with alarming rapidity Up to this hour ( 4 p.m.), as far as I have heard, some three or four families are burnt out, and even now I see traps coming down with families and what furniture they have been ablo to save. From good authority I hear that if the wind does not abate or change, the whole of tho bush must go. Theobald's has already gone. Hayes' was burning all rouud when tho last news camo, and no one could get near to save machinery or anything. Martin's was on fire ; the Government reserves will go, and so also will O'Brien's. In fact if this preßent wind continues, I believe tho whole of the bush m Waimato will be completely cleared out.. There are rumors of more than ono family whom it is impossible to get at or help, co it will bo a miracle if life is not lost as well as property. A rumor has just come m that Mr Studholme is eaid to bo missing. He has been hard at work m the bush. His overseer, Mr Potts, has just arrived with some nasty burns, but nothing dangerouß. It is said he got •corched m goiug after Mr Studholmo. Mr Molloy hat also just come m with Mr Studholma't trap, and says they cannot find him. The fire ia now burning Mr Bruce's house, or is around it so close that it cannot be saved. Fifteen families for certain have come m, cleared out of house and home by tho conflagration. Ono mm has his leg broken. Tho mail is just closing, tol must fiuith. LATBB. Mr Studholme has just come m, as black at a sweep. He says £60,000 will not clear the losi. I will send more particulars to-morrow. TBBT LATEST. At 11.30 o'clock last night, the following telegram came to hand from Waimate : — Hayes', Bartlett's, Hunt's, and Barrett's sawmills have all been destroyed. Kiekm&n's (Bruce'n late residence), Theobald's, Wall's Lillywhite'g, and several other houses have been burnt completely, and nothing saved. Very great anxiety ia felt for a number of persona residing near the bush. The fire is still raging, and the wind continue,' very high. Several persons are much burnt. Two men dislocated their legs m assisting others. [By Tblbgbafh.] Cubistchuboh, Not. 15. A very heavy north-westerly gale has been blowing all day.

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HEAVY GALE., Timaru Herald, Volume XXIX, Issue 1298, 16 November 1878

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HEAVY GALE. Timaru Herald, Volume XXIX, Issue 1298, 16 November 1878

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