Isle of Wight Observer January 22, 1870

ALARM OF FIRE

On Friday evening last, between 9 and 10 o’clock, a little girl was passing up Union-road, when she saw dense volumes of smoke issuing from the roof of Mr Leonard Halstead’s workshops, which is situated next door to Mr Cheverton’s wine and spirit stores. Mr Buckett, at the Town-hall, as well as the police, were speedily communicated with, and they were on the spot almost with the rapidity of lightning; indeed, within a quarter of an hour from the time of the alarm, 19 out of the 20 firemen were there at work with the hose and the plug. It is a subject relfecting the highest credit on our local firemen, whose prompt exertions were undoubtedly the means of saving a great destruction of valuable property. It appears that the workmen in the employ of Mr Halstead had, on Friday afternoon been melting lead, for which purpose they had kept up a large fire, which heated the back of the fire place so much that some tarred planking at the back of the bricks geban to sweal (sic) and at the time the girl first saw the smoke, had burnt out and caught some of the wood work of the ceiling on fire. The firemen carried the hose over the roof to the spot where the fire was burning, and by dint of great exertion got it under by 12 o’clock. In the upper part of the workshops there are two rooms, one of which is used for storing paper, and this was immediately removed. As it was, the ceiling was much scorched; and in the work room, from which it is divided by a thin partition, there was a large hole burnt in the ceiling. the lower part of the building is used as a store for turpentine, oil, &c., and contained a large quantity of these dangerous materials. Had the fire caught hold of these, there would probably have been an explosion, and considering that the next building was filled with wines and spirits, and moreover that it is only separated by a thin brick wall, we have much reason to be thankful that the fire was so promptly suppressed. The greatest possible credit is due to Mr Buckett, and the firemen generally; also to the police, who did all in their power and watched the premises all night in case of further outbreak. The damage fortunately is trifling, not exceeding £20, and that appears to have been caused more by water than fire. The building, we understand, is insured, but not Mr Halstead’s stock.

Return to Ryde Streets page