The Railways of Ottawa

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

Ottawa Car Company Fire 16 March 1899

Ottawa Journal 16 March 1899

DID $12,000 DAMAGE
Carpenter and Machine Shops Gutted. Insurance Only Amounts to $7,757. Hard Work for Brigade.

A fire which caused damage to the extent of $12,000 occurred in the Ottawa car shops at the corner of Kent and Slater streets this morning about, one o'clock.
The entire carpenter and machine shops are gutted, making it necessary to re-build. The fire was exceedingly hard to fight owing to the building being sheeted with iron. This allowed the fire to burn between the walls, where the firemen could not get at it. There was also a double roof between which the fire burned without interruption for some time.
Had it not been for this the damage would have been much less. The building is insured to the amount ot $7,750, making an actual loss to the company of S4,250. The insurance is carried by the following companies: Northern, $1,500; North British and Mercantile, $2,500; Liverpool, London and Globe. $2,500; Mercantile Fire Insurance Co., $1,250.
The Fire.
The fire was first noticed by Watchman Wilson, who saw a small flame in the building at the corner of Kent and Slater streets. He at once sent in an alarm, and then rang up Mr. Wylie, the manager of the car works. By this time the flames had spread over the shavings in the carpenter shop to the elevator, where the draught gave the fire great headway. The building was a mass of flames in two minutes from the time the fire was first seen.
The brigade was a little slow in responding owing to the heavy condition of the streets caused by the snowfall of the evening. The men from No. 2 arrived on the scene first, and were followed by Chief Provost, who at once seeing that the fire wss a bad one, sent in a general alarm. The Lafrance engine was on the ground in a short time and was attached to the hydrant at the corner ot Kent and Albert. By the time the engine got to work the men from No. 2 and No. 3 had four streams playing on the flames. Two streams from the Latrance did excellent work when they got started, eight minutes from the time the first, alarm was sent in.
The fire was hard to get at owing to the construction of the building, and while it was kept under control it burned for over two hours.
The origin of the fire is a mystery to Mr. Wylie who states that there. was nothing in the shop which would cause fire.
The firemen did excellent work in keeping the fire within the one building, for had it spread to the adjoining shop the loss would have been much heavier.
The fire will cause a great deal of loss to the company, owing to this being their busy season. Temporary shops will be run up at once, however, in order that the orders now on hand may be filled.
Mayor Payment and Ald. Desjardins were at the fire. His Worship seemed to like watching the firemen at work. Notwithstanding the late hour a large number of people got out to look at the burning building.

Ottawa Journal 22 March 1899

The Structure Will be Larger Than the Building- Destroyed by the Recent Fire.

The Ottawa Car Company's building st the corner of Slater and Kent sts. which was badly damaged by fire recently, will be replaced by a larger structure, and the work of removing the burned portion is now going on rapidly. It was noticed at the recent fire that the iron covering of the building was useful in confining the fire. The new building will have a similar covering. ' Mr. W. W. Wylie, the manager, has had plans prepared for the new building. It will be 79 feet by 99 feet and three storeys high; special care will be taken to lessen the danger from fire. The building will be entirely open on the inside, so that in the event of a fire the firemen will be able to reach with their streams any portion of the building. They were unable to do this in the burned building. The insurance has been settled.
The Car Company has a lot of work on hand, but no serious delsy is likely to result from the fire. Arrangements have been made with Messrs. Davidson and Thackray and others for the supply of material, and the work will go ahead.
The company is seriously considering the advisability of sending an open and a closed car of the latest design to the Paris Exposition.

Updated 9 February 2024

Top     Home   Findings   Circle