THE LATE FIRE AT REEFTON.
(inangahua times, jan. 19.)
A most destructive bush fire occurred in the ranges adjacent to the Wealth of Nations machine site yesterday afternoon. In the early part of the day the surrounding bush was in flames, but the direction of the wind le<J most people to suppose that the tire would take a course Iso as to clear the Wealth of Nations hill, but towards the afternoon it became evident that such would not be the ca^e, and an hour or so later the flames had spread over the whole of the range. Nine houses, belonging to miners working in the different adjoining mines, were quickly enveloped in flames, and with the contents cqmpletely .•destroyed. The occupants were all absent at work at ( the time, and consequently the sufferers lost everything. Great damage has also resulted ti the property of many of the claims. The long shoot receiving paddock, and tramway of the Independent Company have been destroyed, as also the paddock, and tramway of the Vulcan Company ; and the Wealth of Nations tramway has also been burnt in many places. Numerous other minor losses have also been sustained. One of the unfortuuate sufferers whose hut was burnt, is said to have lost £35 in notes which were concealed in the house at the time of the fire. Nothing could be done to keep back the flames, as the wind blew fiercely in the direction of the houses, scattering a shower of burning embers which prevented aid being rendered to save the contents of the huts. On both sides of Murray Creek fires were raging throughout the day, and in fact, the whole country around was ablaze — overspreading the district with clouds of smoke, for many hours rendering respiration the reverse of pleasant. Several miles of fencing have been destroyed along the Buller road, and the noise of falling trees could be heard in all directions. Yesterday afternoon a fire invaded, the Chinese quarters, on the south side of the Inangahua, and caused alar .ping activity among the Celestials, who succeeded in keeping back the fire.
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