The Railways of Ottawa

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

Canadian Pacific
Offices, Freight Shed and Nine Boxcars on Freight Shed Siding Burned 20 November 1912.

Ottawa Citizen 21 November 1912

Nine Freight Cars Destroyed at Prescott Sheds.
(Special to The Evening Citizen.)
Prescott, Nov. 21. The freight shed of the C. P. R. located on the company's wharf here was totally destroyed bv fire last night. together with over nine carloads of freight. The total loss will be in the neighborhood of $40,000 the greater part of this being for the freight. The building was one-storey frame about 200 feet long by 80 feet wide, and at the time of the fire nine loaded cars were standing on the track inside. They were all burned besides what other freight was on the floor ot the building. The freight office in one end of the sheds was also destroyed.
The night watchman, Joseph Bartrand, first noticed the reflection of the fire in the building shortly before eleven o'clock last night. He located the fire in about the center of the sheds among the freight, which was for the most part merchandise consigned to the different merchants in Prescott; It was spreading very rapidly, and when the fire brigade arrived, after responding quickly to the call, there was no hope of saving the building. Everything about it being of wood it made a tremendous iblaze. It looked for a time as if it would spread to the neighboring structures, including the big elevator not far away. However the brigade was able to confine the flames to the one building and the upper portions of the wharf, which were also burned. The facing of the wharf was saved.
There is no idea as to how the fire started. One of the office staff of the company had been in the office until after ten o'clock that night and everything was all right when he left as far as he could see. The night watchman, says he saw no one around the sheds later, and the fire chief is inclined to think that thefire started from spontaneous combustion or something of that nature. However, a report gained circulation that the fire was started by an incendiary, and the police are investigating such charges, although it is claimed there is little to support such an assumption.

Chesterville Record 28 November 1912

Shortly before midnight on Wednesday last week fire broke out in the CPR offices and freight sheds at Prescott and in less than three hours the large frame structure, with its contents, was completely destroyed together with nine box cars on the freight shed siding loaded with general merchandise.  In one end of the sheds were stored 200 tons of coal, which were destroyed.  The heavy losers are the CPR, the Canadian Customs and the R&O Company suffered somewhat by having their offices destroyed.  The extent of the damage is roughly estimated at from $60,000 to $75,000.

Updated 1 November 2021

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