FIRE! FIRE!

Isle of Wight Observer September 25, 1852

We trust that we shall be acquitted of a desire to raise unnecessary alarm, or of being spleenetic, in making a few remarks upon such an important topic as Fire. A notion prevails, that at present the town is admirably governed; and the consuct of the promoters of the Public Health Act has been sitgmatised as “highly reprehensible”; both of which erroneous opinions still linger in the public mind. What provision have we against Fire? Two expensive engines are provided, but we are without water. There is a brigade, but we don’t know who they are. Very little, if any, remuneration is made by the town, and there exists no combination among the Insurance offices to provide regular salaries for a brigade. In this juncture, a fire broke out at Mr Turtle’s dyehouse about seven o’clock on Monday evening; plenty of assistance was at hand; messengers were despatched to Mr Woods for the engine, he stated he had nothing to do with them, and advised a search for the Surveyor who had custody of them; the Surveyor could not be found; the fire raged and was ultimately extinguished after great loss, and the engines never arrived upon the spot! Now we do earnestly hope, that the names of the brigade may be, in some way, made known, and every precaution taken to meet an emergency whenever it happens, as it is well known that for engines to be of real service they should be present immediately a fire occurs. We hear Mr Turtle was insured in the London Fire Office.

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