Church Fire at Buckingham, P. Q.
(From our Regular Correspondent)
Buckingham, Prov. of Que., Can., situated about eighteen miles from the city of Ottawa, Ont., was the scene of a fire a few days ago that destroyed one of the most beautiful churches in this district. St. Gregory’s Church, situated at the corner of Charles and Denis Streets, was the scene of the fire, and a loss of over $150,000 was the result. Electric wiring is blamed for the cause of the fire. The fire was discovered about 1:45 p. m., by several of the worshippers who were still in the church and saw a small wisp of smoke issuing from the cornice of the roof just above the organ loft. An alarm was at once given, and on the arrival of the firemen they stretched a line of hose through the church, and up the stair to the organ loft. Immediately on opening a small door that led to a cock pit between the roof and ceiling, a volume of black smoke poured out, driving the firemen back, and showing that the fire had got a good hold. Owing to the density of the smoke and the limited space the firemen had to work in, little headway could be made to get to the seat of the fire. The roof of the church was built of wood, covered with galvanized iron which made ready fuel for the flames to feed upon. A lack of ladders of sufficient length to reach the roof was also a great handicap to the firemen who were working like Trojans to get the mastery of the flames.
On seeing the seriousness of the fire the worshippers at once commenced salvaging the furnishings of the church, and were successful in saving the Host, Crucifix, small altar and most of the choir vestments. The workers time and again rushed into the burning church at great peril to save what they could, while all the time great pieces of the burning roof kept dropping to the floor, but all escaped injury, though many had very narrow escapes.
The Presbytery adjoining the church was in danger of following the church, but the firemen kept a steady stream of water over the front and roof, thus saving the priest’s residence, only a slight portion of the roof being damaged.
A steady pressure of 85 pounds was registered during the whole time the fire was in progress, furnishing the firemen with five good streams. A strong wind was blowing the whole day, and a temperature of 10 below zero was registered, many of the firemen having their hands and faces frost biten. The fire department, which is all volunteer, is under the direction of Chief J. F. Beaudry, and consists of 25 men.
The department is greatly handicapped through want of ladders. In service at the fire was one hose sleigh; five hand hose reels and one small ladder truck, containing one 30-foot ladder and two 25-foot ladders. A steamer or small motor pump would be of great service to the town which has to depend on direct pressure, being assisted by the pumps of one of the large sawmills situated in the town. Photographs show progress of the fire and all that was left of the church when fire was over.
Relief Hook and Ladder company of North Pelham, N. Y., has submitted to the board of fire commissioners for the first district a petition signed by 100 taxpayers asking that a special election be held for the purpose of voting for the purchase of an automobile truck. No action has been taken on the request as yet.