Residents of O’Leary are battling one of the fiercest and most destructive fires in the history of the Province. The fire was discovered at one o’clock and at the time of going to press was reported to be still raging furiously.
Three Canadian National Railway freight cars have also been destroyed while both new and old railroad stations and a string of cars are threatened with destruction.
- The Guardian
November 24, 1933 -
Threatening to sweep the entire village and already causing damage estimated between $60,000 and $75,000, flames consuming a number of warehouses in the heart of O’Leary village, namely those of A F Bell, Kennedy & Kennedy and the Farmers’ Warehouse, owned by Stanford Phillips, the latter building being the largest of the group, continued uncontrollable.
The residents of O’Leary have sent to Alberton for additional fire equipment and assistance to combat the blaze, while a locomotive has been ordered from Tignish to remove the freight cars out of danger.
Over 200 residents are concentrating their efforts on preventing the flames from destroying two other warehouses, fire having spread to another of the Kennedy owned buildings and that of H A Jelly. The warehouse owned by Sanford Phillips, a three-storey structure, was partially covered by insurance, but the farmers of the district will bear the distinct loss of 30,000 bushels of potatoes stored in the building. It was not known if the Bell and Kennedy owned properties, with farm contents, carried insurance.
The freight cars burned contained flour and potatoes. At a late hour the wind had shifted, carrying the flames clear of the station house but the blaze still burned fiercely.
Fire burned itself out, The Guardian
November 25, 1933
The fire at O’Leary has now burned itself out, after doing inestimable damage. The warehouse of the produce company, built six years ago (1927), is valued at $10,000 and has an insurance of $7,000. The contents were not insured.
Mr. Matthews valued his warehouse at $3,000 with $1,000 insurance. He had in his building a quantity of farm machinery which was not insured. Mr. A F Bell who rented the building had a car and a half of potatoes and a car and a half of oats, and 250 bags of flour and other merchandise. Kennedy’s buildings, one of which was burned to the ground and the other badly scorched were partly covered by insurance. The warehouse which was burned was valued at $1,000.
The origin of the fire is not known but the Fire Marshal is expected to make an investigation.
Mr. Bell was working in his warehouse until after 10 o’clock that night getting a car of potatoes and oats ready for shipment. When he arrived at the scene of the fire flames were catching the roof, under the eaves. Mr. Bell is carrying on in the warehouse which adjoins his office next to the Bank of Nova Scotia, away from the scene of the fire.
Mr. Phillips of the produce company said that had they had any fire equipment they could have saved the warehouse. He lost 9,000 bags of potatoes of his own and some 20,000 belonging to the farmers. The old station house was in great danger, and only by the fact the sheet metal roof of the produce building kept the flames low was the station house saved.
The produce house caught at the end and the fire swept right through the building.
Mr. Phillips hopes to salvage a good part of the potatoes remaining in the cellar. The basement was filled to the ceiling with potatoes, and it is there that Mr. Phillips hopes to save. He is now protecting them from the frost with straw and bags and setting to work today putting up a roof and will carry on in this temporary way until a new building can be constructed.
There was considerable grain and other produce in the produce warehouse. The freight car of flour which was burned is insured by the railway. A line of freight cars was in danger but the men moved them down the line, and when the engine arrived from Tignish they were taken out of the range of the fire. Two freight cars, one an empty refrigerator car and the other containing flour, were destroyed. Another car was very badly burned.