The Railways of Ottawa

Finding No. 21   Railway Structures Destroyed (Mainly) by Fire

Hull Electric Power House Destroyed by Fire 19 October 1909

Ottawa Journal 19 October 1909

Power House Building Destroyed This Morning.
Damage Will Amount to Over $2,000.
Car Service Disabled Almost Three Hours.
Fire, the origin of which is not known, broke out at the Hull Electric Company power buildings at Deschenes at nine o'clock this morning and burned for over an hour and a half, during which time all the cars on the line remained stationary.  The damage amounted to between two and three thousand dollars.
The fire broke out In one of the tool houses, which is altuated near the machinery building, adjacent to the main building. The tool house a small building, was destroyed, after which the fire worked into the machinery building, almost razing it to the ground. The employees about the works were formed into a fire brigade. Three streams of water were turned on the flames and twenty five men with buckets were started to work. It was only the result of the fine work of the employees that the whole works were not completely consumed.
The buildings and contents were all insured. Much  damage was done the machinery in the buildings.
The fire was first discovered when one of the operators noticed smoke issuing from the tool house. He went into the buildling and discovered a smalI blaze. He hurried out for a pail of water, but when he returned the building which contained oils and other inflammable materials, was all ablaze.
The car service was resumed shortly before twelve o'clock.

Ottawa Citizen 19 october 1909

Hull Electric Company Has Serious Fire.
Prcmpt Efforts of Workmen Save the Building.
Car Service Out of Commission for Two Hours.

There was a $1,500 fire at the Hull Electric company's plant, Deschenes, this morning that destroyed the coil room and tool house and suspended the Hull and Aylmer car service for two hours. The cause of the fire is unknown, but at about 9.30 o'clock one of the dynamo tenders, Mr. Fred Osgoode, observed smoke coming from beneath the door of the took house. He promptly raised the alarm and in a short space of time the whole of the workmen were collected ready for action.  It was found, fortunately, that the hose was in splendid working order and this was got into play in an incredibly short space of time.
Things looked bad, however, and it was feared at one time that the power house might go. But the men worked steadily, those who were not playing the hose bringing water to the scene in buckets. They went fearlessly into the smoke of the coil room and although whenever they touched a wire by accident they were thrown to the ground, they were up and at it again quickly. In the meantime Aylmer was telrphoned and the volunteer brigade of that village brought an engine to the scene. But there was no need to use it. for by the time the engine arrived the flames were dying out.
The tool house and the coil room were side by side so that there was no hope of saving the latter. They were both frame buildings, metal sheathed, about 20 feet square. The power house was some distance away and luckily the wind was blowing away from it. "Had it not been," said Mr. G. Gordon Gale, superintendent of the Hull Electric, to The Citizen, "nothing could have saved the pover house." As it was, it was slightly scorched. Mr. Gale said that as soon as the fire was out gangs of men were put on to repair the resistance coils and that they would be in permanent working order by this afternoon. A new house will have to be built over them as soon as possible. When the shocks were felt by the fire-fighters the power was shut off immediately. The cars were running again about 11 o'clock.
Aylmer is lighted from this plant but the service will be all right for tonight.

Railway and Marine World December 1909

A contract has been let for the steelwork for the bulkhead at the power house at Lake Deschenes in connection with the reconstruction of the plant which was destroyed by fire Oct. 19.

Updated 5 October 2021

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