WINNIPEG, MAN., October 12.

Never in the history of the city of Winnipeg, nor, indeed, in that of the great Northwestern region of Canada, has such a disastrous fire been chronicled as that which has devastated the metropolis of the Northwestern territory of the Dominion. In two short hours two of the finest and most important business blocks in the city were totally destroyed and where this morning all was prosperity there is now only a heap of blazing buildings, a chaotic mass of fallen walls, charred timbers, and twisted iron. For, although the fire is completely under control, the flames are still bursting out at intervals from among the debris, and, from all appearances, it will be some days before they are extinguished. The loss is at least $700,000. with an insurance of apparently only about $300,000. The fire, which spread with amazing rapidity, started in the Bul man block, possibly from defective insulation of the electric wires. In that block many chemicals were stored, and by the time the fire department was on the scene (and the firemen made no delay) the whole roof was ablaze and fire was bursting out from every window as well as from the top of the building. Pillars of flame towered heavenward; and fiery streams many feet in length shot out of every window. The firemen under Chief Buchanan worked heroically, but all their efforts could not hinder the Ashdown block from catching. Bannantine avenue formed no hindrance; the flames leaped over it as if it were a narrow lane. Ban field’s, the Leland hotel, the Rialto block stood in jeopardy every moment. The Davis block and the Woodbine hotel caught and were more or less badly damaged by fire, smoke and water. For a considerable time it seemed as if the same fate awaited Winnipeg as had befallen Toronto and Ottawa. The splendid work of the firemen, however, localized the flames and saved the day. The loss is put down as follows: New Bulman block, with stock, value $200,000. totally destroyed; J. H. Ashdown’s block, value $500,000. totally destroyed: Davis block, partially damaged; Rialto block, badly damaged by water, smoke and heat. The firms chiefly affected are: Butman Bros., engravers and fine art printers; J. H. Ashdown, hardware; L. Meikle & Co.; Bryce & Co.; J. &. G. Cleghom, manufacturing agents; Steele & Co., photographers; Dufferin company, and Hingston-Smith Arms company. The firemen were handicapped by the lack of adequate water pressure —an evil of which Chief Buchanan has never ceased to complain—for, although the fire pressure is from seventy-five to 125 pounds, yet it rarely reaches much above the lower figure when any demand greater than ordinary taxes the resources of the hydrants. The need of a water tower, also, was conspicuously shown, as well as of additional hook and ladder trucks and steamers. That Chief Buchanan effected so much in the face of such difficulties, to say nothing of the atmospheric conditions, showed his skill as a firefighter and spoke volumes in favor of his officers and men.


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