The Railways of Ottawa

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

Ottawa West Canadian Pacific Central and East Sections of Roundhouse Burned 20 February 1905.

Ottawa Journal 20 Febuary 1905

On the stroke of 1 o'clock this morning fire broke out in the Canadian Pacific roundhouse on the Richmond road, and before it was extinguished damage to the extent of about $6,000 had been done.
The interior of the central and eastern sections of the semi-circular roundhouse structure was gutted, and six locomotives, which were in the building, were badly damaged. The origin of the fire is unknown.
A staff of cleaners were at work at the time, and it is believed that fire from one of the engines, or from a torch, set fire to the woodwork.
At any rate, the whole interior of the building was soon a mass of flames and an alarm was sent in from box 141, hose wagons Nos. 1, 2, 7 and 8 responding.  The fire fighters made a quick trip to the scene.
The firemen were well directed by Chief Provost, and streams were seen playing on the on the inside and the outside of the burning building.
The big Waterous engine Canada was used for the first time and Chief Provost stated today that he was well pleased with the test it was given.
Had the new steamer not been used the chief is of the opinion that the whole roundhouse would have been totally destroyed.  The big steamer provided plenty of pressure.  The firemen experienced some trouble in getting the hoses between the locomotives but altogether the blaze was well handled.
When the fire broke out the engines began to move out of the roundhouse, and there was much commotion, many of the locomotives blowing off steam with their whistles going full blast.  The ball bearing turntable proved of great facility in the shunting around of the locomotives from track to track.
At the time the fire broke out there were thirteen locomotives in the roundhouse.  Seven of these were taken out.  The most valuable passenger engines were removed.
The six locomotives damaged have been for some time used on passenger and freight trains and the damage to them consists mainly of the destruction of cabs and rear portions and can be repaired.
The loss on the building will amount to about $1,000.  The damage to the rolling stock is covered by insurance.

Ottawa Citizen 20 February 1905

Fire Does Heavy Damage at C. P.R Round House,
Six Engines Partially Oeatroyed, Others Rescued Brigade Did Good Work. Origin a Mystery.

Fire which broke out at one o'clock this morning in the Canadian Pacific round house on the Richmond road, caused damage roughly estimated at $6,000. Six locomotives, were more or less damaged and the interior of the central and eastern sections of the semi-circular structure was gutted.
It was just a few minutes before one o'clock when the fire started but as to the cause of it no very definite information is at hand. A staff of cleaners was at work and by reason of the oily character of the interior it was rendered somewhat inflammable. It is supposed that fire from one of the engines or from a torch ignited the woodwork and in a short time the whole interior, east of a heavy fire wall was ablaze. An alarm was immediately turned in from box 141 and hose 1, 2, 7 and 8 responded. The big Waterous engine Canada was out for the first time and worked splendidly.
When the fire broke out there were thirteen locomotives in the round house. Of these all but six were got out, the newer and more valuable passenger engines being removed, mostly under their own steam to a place of safety. Of the six engines which were damaged it was found possible to move out three sufficiently far to protect the motive power. They were all locomotives that have been some time in use for passenger or freight purposes and the damage to them consists mainly in the destruction of cabs and the rear portions. They can be repaired .
The fire caused a lot of commotion, the moving out of the engines, many of them with their whistles screeching to blow off steam, making a terrible noise. The ball bearing turnable proved of great facility in shunting around the locomotives from track to track.
The efforts of the firemen were well directed. Chief Prevost had streams at work inside and outside of the burning structure and the big steamer furnished plenty of pressure. In the center of the building - a one story structure - the big fire wall barred the flames and they didn't get west of it. The damage was in the central part and also to some extent in the portion where the machine shop is located. The firemen had some difficulty in getting the lines on between the moving locomotives but the blaze wa well handled and after about an hour's work was extinguished.
The rolling stock damaged is covered by insurance. The loss on the building will be about $1,000.

Updated 26 October 2021

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