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Historic EVENTS in and around Welland


This Group and Residence Reduced to Ashes by Fire Which had Secured big Headway Before Alarm was Given


            About 3:30 Friday morning, Wellanders witnessed one of the most spectacular fires in the history of the town, a blaze which in a short space of time reduced to smoldering ashes the large rink owned by Sam L. Lambert and the poultry hall, main exhibition hall and secretary’s and ticket offices at the fair grounds. A residence and outbuildings were also destroyed. The roller skating season had closed in the rink the night before and the building was to have been used by the Welland Agricultural society as its main exhibition building this year, a fine floor having been laid for the rollers. The fire, therefore wipes out everything in the line of an exhibition building for the fair. These buildings cover a wide area and as they were all burning fiercely at practically the same time it made a thrilling sight.  In fact the place spread still further running along the dry grass and trees adding to the wildness of the scene.

            The blaze had gained great headway before the alarm was given and though the firemen responded promptly they found the whole rink a blazing furnace and the poultry hall close to it well in the grip of the flames when they reached the scene. All the buildings were of frame construction, situated close together and the blaze rapidly spread to every building in the group. When the fire was burned out a small part of the residence facing Dennistoun street, owned by Morwood Estate and occupied by Mrs. Shaw, was left standing, though this is practically a total loss.

             The fire was, in fact, beyond control before the firemen arrived and had the conditions been less favorable it might have spread still further.  There was little wind and recent rains of late had made the shingle roofs of surrounding property less inflammable. The houses on the north side of Bald street and east side of Dennistoun street were in hot quarters, being showered with burning embers and scorched by the heat. Leaves on the trees on the north side of Bald street were burned black by the heat. Further from the scene of the fire on Bald street and even as far as Main street, property owners had a busy time extinguishing with garden hose burning embers as they fell on the roofs. The houses directly facing the fire were wet down by the fire hose, but farther away residents were instructed by the firemen to take care of their own roofs. An enormous crowd turned out to see the fire.

             The cause of the fire and the place where it started are unknown. The majority of those who arrived first on the scene were positive that it must have started in the rink, while others claimed it originated in the poultry hall in the fair grounds.

             Mrs. Shaw’s house was on fire when she was awakened by one of the early arrivals at the fire. Her household goods were largely lost in the fire or damaged in removing them and she also had one hundred chickens burned, on none of which she had any insurance. The residence she occupied was owned by the Morwood Estate. It is a small frame house and the loss is partly covered by insurance.

             The rink was built by Mr. Lambert four years ago. It was used for ice skating for four years and this season a floor was laid for roller skating. S. Mason operated it as a roller rink for two months. Mr. Lambert estimated his loss at from $7000 to $8000, with $4000 insurance. He has not come to any decision about rebuilding.

             The losses of the Agricultural society are as follows:-

             Exhibition hall, loss $3000, insurance $1000

             Poultry hall, loss $900, insurance $500

             Office, loss $200, no insurance

             R. Cooper, chairman of the society stated to the Press that arrangements for rebuilding would be made at once and that the society would be in shape for the fair this year.

             A meeting of the Welland County Agricultural society has been called for this afternoon at 3 o’clock in the court house to discuss plans for rebuilding.

People’s Press

3 August 1915

Fire: 30 July 1915

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