The Railways of Ottawa

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

Canadian Pacific Kingston Freight Office burned 29 December 1939

Kingston Whig Standard 29 December 1939

CPR Freight Office Gutted In Second Christmas Week Blaze in City; Damage $5,000
Fire Believed to Have Started When Coals Escaped from Box Stove on Ground Floor; Adjoining Freight Sheds Are Undamaged.

Fire believed to have started from coals escaping from a box-stove on the ground floor early this morning completely gutted the office of the Canadian Pacific Railway freight sheds at the foot of Market Street. Fire did not spread to the freight sheds, jutting out from the office building.

Freight officials estimated that damage would be $5,000. Office records and furniture were completely water-soaked and in some instances charred by flame. Every window in the office building was broken to allow dense smoke to escape.

Firemen were on the scene of the fire at 6.30 a.m. and, using four lines of hose, had it under control less than an hour later. Stubborn jets of flames forced the firefighters to use hose as late as 8.30 a.m.

Members of the fire department had to break down doors at the front and rear of the building to get at the seething mass of flame which was about 15 feet back from the main entrance. Flames burned a hole around the base of the box stove, spread to the walls, partitions and ceiling and by 6.45 a.m. flames were shooting out second-storey windows. Since the building is of wooden construction the fire was difficult to control. Firemen stated that if there had been a stiff wind from the west the freight sheds and merchandise would have been seriously threatened.

The before and after photos (LAC PA-205298 and CSTM STR25900a) show the change that resulted from reconstruction of the west end of the freight shed following the fire. The second-storey of the freight office was completely removed.
From Andrew Jeanes

Updated 24 December 2021

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