Thirty-one Horses Perish in Toronto Bakery Fire
In a fire that started about 6 o’clock a. m. in the Coleman Bakery, Toronto, Ont., 31 horses and one fine specimen of a tiger tabby cat were suffocated a few mornings ago. The blaze, it is believed, started from electric wiring or round a motor in the mixing room. Within a few feet of this motor is the elevator shaft, and opening from the elevator is a double door into the passageway leading to the stables. As a rule, that door is kept closed, a precaution which had not been observed on this occasion, with the result that as soon as the fire broke out the stables were at once filled with a dense, suffocating smoke. All the windows were closed and the skylights were shut. As soon as the early drivers, who were in the stables, discovered what had happened, instead of trying to get the horses out, they ran down stairs to where the wagons were housed. These were saved and then the men tried to get upstairs to rescue the horses. This they were unable to do on account of the thick smoke. When the fire brigade arrived and broke open the windows, only seven of the 31 horses in the stables were alive. Twenty had fallen in the hallways where they had been left partially harnessed by the drivers. The others had been fatally overcome in their stalls. Even the big cat had given up its nine lives. From the actual fire the animals had been in no danger, as was proved by the fact that a bale of hay within a few feet of the elevator doorway was not even slightly charred, while only a small section of the ceiling showed any signs of having suffered from the flames. In the mixing room nearly everything was ruined, but several thousand bags of flour, except for water damage, were unhurt and only a few on the outside of the piles had burst open. The horses, if the drivers had been able to manage it, would have been led down from the stables through the room from which some of the wagons had been withdrawn by the men, but as all the electric lights in the building had gone out as soon as the fire started round the motor, the drivers, who had tried to make a way through the wagons by which to lead the horses out, were too late to do any good. The horses were valued at from $100 to $125 each and the loss in the mixing room was also heavy, and all from the negligence of some employe in leaving a door open!