Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A singular fire: horse tram blaze, Epsom, 1891

This from the NZ Herald, 6 April 1891.
A singular fire took place shortly after midnight on Friday at the Potter's Paddock tramway depot [today's Alexandra Park raceway] of the Auckland Tramway Company.

It appears that the late car was run in in a siding at fifty-five minutes past eleven, and the lamp left turned down so as to show as a danger signal if any trap or person came near. The night stableman (John Sayers) went on with his duty of washing down the cars, and the night watchman (Mills) was also engaged inside the depot.

While they were busy one of Ambury and English's milkmen came past and informed the men that the car outside the shed was on fire and blazing away.

They rushed out to see what steps could be taken to suppress the fire, but they were unable to do anything as the car was blazing furiously and the water supply at a distance. It is believed that, owing to the very gusty weather that night, the flame was driven down the lamp, causing it to explode, and as the carriage was of American make, of white pine, it at once went like matchwood. Little is left save the flooring.

Fortunately, the car is covered by insurance in the New Zealand Insurance Company's office. A new one will be at once built. The moral of the incident is -- insure, for it is the unexpected that happens."

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