Details of Railway Accidents and Incidents in the Ottawa Area

1893, November 27 - Streetcar Runs into a Firehose during Fire at Booth's mill.

Ottawa Citizen 29 November 1893

City Fire and Light Committee
A communication was received from Mr. Hutcheson of the Ottawa Electric Railway Company, regarding a length of hose broken by a motor-car at the Booth mill fire on Monday night. It was decided by vote of the chairman, to ask the company to pay damages, Ald Masson and Wallace voting yes, Ald. Perkins and Gareau votong nay, and Ald, Fraser declining to vote at all.

Ottawa Free Press 1 December 1893

The following explanation is given of the streetcar and fire hose accident on Bridge street last Monday night as related by an eye witness.  The car, which was on its way down the slope towards the Suspension bridge was billed to stop at J.R. Booth's mill as several of the passengers were making the fire their destination.  Those waiting to get off were standing on the steps and platform whilst the car moved along.  The big hose in front of them was distinctly visible as were also the actions of the policemen and sergeants-major as the car rolled on towards the hose.  The motorman did not seem to notice the hose until the car struck it, his attention being attracted by the blaze.

Ottawa Journal 1 December 1893

Motorman Proulx Summoned to tell About the Hose Cutting
Motorman Proulx, whose car ran oveer tne hose at the fire at Booth's Mill on Monday evening, has been summoned to appear before the police court on Wednesday next for an infraction of the by-law which provides against cars running over hose or in any way interfering with the apparatus of the fire brigade.
There will be quite a number of woitnesses summoned for the prosecution to show that it was impossible for Proulx not to have seen the hose over which his car ran and damaged.

Ottawa Journal 6 December 1893

Proulx Discharged as it was not Proved He saw the Hose

Motorman Napoleon Proulx, charged before Magistrate O'Gara this morning with wantonly injuring a hose at the fire at Booths Mill on November 27th was discharged, there being no positive evidence to show that Proulx knew there was a hose across the street at the time his car passed.
Proulx was put in the box by his lawyer, Mr. F.R. Latchford, and told his story. He said that he went on duty at six o'clock that evening and did not know that there was a fire at the mill until after the car had run over the hose. He heard no shouting or got no alarm from anybody. Two other witnesses George Dick, jr. and S.J. Smith, examined said they were on the front of the car and heard no shouting to stop the car and the motorman did not know the car had struck the hose until they told him. Policeman Gilhooly said that he shouted to the motorman to stop when the car was some five yards away and the car was moving slowly at the time.
The magistrate in summing up said in such cases it was necessary to prove that the motorman saw the hose. This was not shown and he dismissed the case. However, he thought that at fires there should be a red light and a red flag or some such indication so that the motormen and others might know there was a fire and a danger of injuring hose.
Among the interested spectators in the courtroom were Messrs J.R. Booth, J.W. McRae, W.Y. Soper, Chief Young and JE. Hutchison [sic], superintendent of the Street Railway company.

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Updated 19 May 2023