The Railways of Ottawa

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

Ottawa New York Central Station Destroyed by Fire 1 April 1945 .

Ottawa Citizen 2 April 1945

New York Central Offices and Public.Waiting Room Burn in Weekend Fire

The New York Central Railway's ticket and freight office and public waiting room, on Nicholas street at the corner of Mann avenue, was destroyed in a spectacular fire which was first observed at 12.35 a.m. Sunday. Firemen spent many anxious moments when they were informed, on their arrival, that possibly two watchmen were trapped in the blazing frame structure, but the men, neither of whom were near the building at the time the fire broke out, turned up safely later from their homes.
No figure could be obtained as to the extent of the damage, but it was estimated it would run into thousands of dollars. The nearby freight sheds and their contents were undamaged.
F-Set. Edward Fitzpatrick, RCAF, of, 297 LeBreton street, who was driving past the station, was the first to see the fire and he turned in an alarm. Fifteen minutes later the first arrivals of the fire department sounded a second alarm which brought out more men and equipment. Fire Chief Gray Burnett had personal charge of the department.
Search for Watchmen.
Another who saw the fire early was Constable Robert Smith, of the night prowler patrol, who, knowing that a watchman was usually on duty in the building, made valiant efforts to find him. He broke into the freight shed effice, and searched about through the heat and smoke, but was finally driven out. . Tirket Agent Paul St. Pierre, who arrived quickly on the scene from his .home at nearby 60 Hastey avenue, told firemen that two watchmen were employed, Aime Delaire and his son, Sylvio, both of Wrightville. Hull. Many of the firemen risked their lives to search the blazing building for the two men believed to have been trapped inside.
Mr. St. Pierre said that Aime Delaire was hired to be on duty between 5 p.m. and midnight, when he would be relieved by his son, Sylvio, who was to work until morning.
Watchmen at Home.
At 2 a.m. Constable Smith phoned Sgt. Major Dion on desk duty at trie police station to try to locate the Delaires. Sgt. Major Dion telephoned the Delaire home in Wrightville, and was informed that both men were at home.
Mr. St. Pierre said It was usual for a watchman to be on duty, and so sure was he that the men were inside the building that he made repeated attempts to find them, and was forcibly restrained by firemen. A heavy pall of smoke interfered with the firemen properly directing their hose lines.
Chief Burnett said he believed the fire started in the boiler room and destroyed the entire first floor of the buildling. The fire, he said, had been burning lor some time before it was discovered. Mr. St. Pierre said he believed the railway company would rebuild as soon as possible, but meanwhile freight cars parked in the yards will be used as temporary offices.

Ottawa Journbal 2 April 1945

New York Central's Ottawa Station Destroyed by Fire
Damage estimated at $10,000 resulted from a two-alarm fire of unknown origin which swept through the ticket and freight offices and public waiting room of the New York Central Railway, Nicholas street and Mann avenue, at 12.35 o'clock Sunday morning.
Excitement in the early hours of the spectacular fire was increased when it was at first believed that two watchmen, Alme Delaire and his son, Sylvio, both of Wrightviile, might be in the building. Constable Robt. Smith and Ticket Agent Paul St. Pierre, of 60 Hastey avenue, entered the blazing building several times to search for the Delaires. They were later located at their residence.
The fire was first seen by Flt Sgt Edward Fltzpatrlck of 297 LeBreton street who turned in an alarm. Fire Chief Burnett stated he believed the fire had started around the boiler room, and had been burning for some time before it was noticed,
Some water damage was sustained by the freight sheds and contents on the south side of the offices. Boarding cars will be used as temporary freight and ticket offices until a new office can be built, Mr. St Pierre told The Journal. Plans for new offices are proceeding  immediately.

Updated 20 October 2021

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