Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mrs. Bagnall's house burns, Charlottetown, 1812

     The following account comes from the Weekly Recorder Newspaper, transcribed by Gary Carroll ( ) and found on the Island Register ( ) 
Weekly Recorder - Tuesday, 4 February 1812
     On Wednesday night last between the hours of 11 and 12 o'clock, the house of Mrs. Bagnall was discovered to be on fire, and in a short time it increased with such rapidity as seemed to defy all exertions to extinguish it, but the weather being calm and the alarm soon spreading a great number of persons collected from the Garrison and the Town, whose exertions under the direction of a few persons of distinction (amongst whom were Captain Shore and J.F. Holland, Esq. one of the Fire-Wards for the town) it was got the better of, and in a few minutes afterwards was entirely quenched.
     The activity and regularity shewn, by the inhabitants of this place on this as well as on prior occasions of the same kind, may have been equalled but have never been exceeded. The small engine, the private property of Mr. Bremner, was the only one which appeared on the spot, and was of great utility at this time as it has at been at many others, those belonging to the public were froze up in their houses and out of order.
     It may be proper to mention here, as a caution to others, that this fire originated from the fixture of a stove in a partition which was so placed for the purpose of warming two rooms--both rooms being leans to or additions to a former building.--The Partitions took fire from the top and side of the stove and communicated up through the lathes and plaster of the walls and burst out under the eve of the former building; notwithstanding the fire caught in this manner there is scarcely any appearance of its effects, in the rooms where the stove stood. The damage sustained is only to be seen in the destruction of the upper floor and roof of the new building and the whole of that side of the wall of the original house to which this lean to was attached.
     Below are images showing hand-split lathes in the walls of a Dorchester Street house under restoration.  You can see how a house like that of Mrs. Bagnalls would be quickly consumed by fire - the dry lathes would burn like kindling! 

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