Only the shell of Frank Alick’s Main Street Store remains standing following a fire which broke out in the basement about 1 a.m. this morning. In sub-zero weather the firemen battled until 5 a.m. to keep the blaze confined to the building and in this they were successful. Despite the fact that the fire broke through the walls in several places only the paint on the Fisher building to the west was slightly damaged.
Starts in Basement
John Alick, who lives in the apartment above the store, had retired upstairs only a short time before. He was reading when Mrs. Alick got the first whiff of smoke. Picking up the baby, the couple made their way out of the building and then John discovered the basement ablaze. It is presumed that the fire started in the oil furnace which had not been feeding properly. Only yesterday morning 600 gallons of fuel oil had been put into the tanks in the basement and this was a potential source of danger to the firemen, who in the freezing cold, battled stubbornly and successfully to keep the fire from spreading to the Fisher and Newman stores only a few feet away.
From the basement the fire made its way up the walls which were covered with patent siding on the outside and made it extremely difficult to get at the fire.
Barber shop saves equipment
Lawrence Casey, who operates a barbershop in a front section of the building, succeeded in having his equipment removed despite the fact that the flames were licking around the door frame. His loss would be cut to a minimum.
Some insurance was carried on the building, but the loss would still be a heavy one for Mr. Alick who had recently spent a great deal of money improving the front and interior of his confectionary store.
Credit to Fire Department
The result of the early morning battle was a distinct credit to Fire Chief Lusby and his firemen. They were on the job quickly despite the hour and they never ceased in their efforts although the weather was bitterly cold. Only their splendid fight prevented the blaze from spreading to other nearby buildings and possibly wiping out the whole lower section of Main Street.
Victoria Driving Park in New Hands
A few weeks ago the Committee holding the lease on Victoria Driving Park handed back the lease to Superintendent E.B. Paul, discouraged with the lack of co-operation given them as they tried to improve the facilities within the park.
Last week a new group sprang into prominence and is planning to take over the lease with Mr. Paul’s consent. While the names of this group have not yet been released the Record expects to publish them next week. In the meantime a reorganization of the whole setup is under way and some sharp changes are being planned for the future.
If the present arrangements go through the plans are that every organization using the park will be charged ten percent of the gate and the money will be used to improve the property. For years it has been the practice of all organizations to use the property, (and damage it too) without contributing towards the upkeep. This has discouraged various groups that have tried to manage the property. The new group feels if the park is to be made what the public would like it to be there must be sufficient income to keep in good state of repairs and make improvements.
The new plan will include horsemen as well as other sports organizations. As a group, it is said, that the horsemen have put more into the park than any others. It has been pointed out that the organization that will have a free hand in the use of the park will be the hospital, should anything be organized in their interest in the future.
Pat Crowe is a member of the Springhill Heritage Group. To learn more or read past article of the Heritage Corner, visit www.springhillheritage.ca.