Church Fire at Moncton, N. B.
An explosion followed by flames coming through shattered doors and windows of the St. John’s Presbyterian church at Moncton, N. B., at 7 a. m., Feb. 12, was the first information of a fire which completely destroyed one of the principal churches of that city. The fire started in the basement from an unknown cause. When the fire department arrived the entire building was in flames and burning furiously. Chief George Ackerman sent in other alarms. The mercury was 23 degrees below zero. The fire department was handicapped by a poor supply of water owing to a break in the main. It was impossible to save the church, and the department gave its attention to saving adjoining property. The church was surrounded by wooden dwellings. The salvage corps assisted many people from their homes and in removing their furniture. The church spire fell into the ruins. The edifice was constructed of brick and stone and was built after its predecessor was burned in January, 1894. It is supposed that a gas stove caused the fire. The loss was about $40,000. A Waterous motor pumper, an Amoskeag, a Ronald steam fire engine, four hose wagons, a sixty-gallon Seagrave chemical engine and an aerial ladder truck were in service. In speaking of the motor engine after the fire Chief Ackerman said: “There is the machine that saved those houses around the church! Only for that motor engine the fire would be still going. Considering the circumstances. the motor fire engine made a great showing.”
There were five streams on the fire through 2,400 feet of hose, one length of which burst. The water pressure was only thirty pounds, due to a broken water main which was discovered after the fire. There were three 4inch double hydrants on four and six-inch mains used. A deluge set was in service for three hours.