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UNPRECEDENTED DESTRUCTION…

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UNPRECEDENTED DESTRUCTION OF FARM BUILDINGS BY FIRE. During the past eighteen months the agricultural Tillage of Crondall, near Farnham has been visited by fires to an extent unparalleled probably in any other village in this country of like size and im- portance. In the above comparatively short period five farms, one of which contained the largest barn .e in England, have been almost completely destroyed. The damage sustained on the four first occasions amounting in each instance to several thousands of pounds. The circumstances connected with each of these conflagrations left little doubt but that they were the work of an incendiary and an extensive fire which occurred on Wednesday evening last, near the church is reasonably attributed to the same cause. On the above even- ing, about ten o'clock, flames were observed rising in*two places from a farm yard belonging to Mr. Stephen Smither, master of the Odiham Down har- riers, who resides near Odiham, and an alarm was immediately raised which, spreading, brought a large number of the inhabitants to the spot. It was then discovered that a very large barn and a quantity of strawin the yard were on fire, and that several tenements in the vicinity were in imminent danger. Efforts were made to rescue the latter by removing the connecting materials, and fortunately with suc- cess but it was apparent from the first that the bam and its contents were inevitably doomed to destruction. The flames raged with irresistible fury, and in a short space of time seventy sacks of threshed wheat and oats, a steam threshing machine, a large quantity of unthreshed oats and wheat, the former the produce of seven acres and the latter nine acres of land a cart shed, a carpenter's shop, with carpenter's tools, an outhouse, and other buildings, fell a prey to the devastating element. In addition to the above a stable containing two horses was also destroyed, and the animals-almost burnt to a cinder. One of these was a btmter worth £ 10, ridden by Mr. Smithers during the last hunting season and the other a valuable cart horse. The flames illuminated the horizon for miles round, and a large number of persons arrived from Odiham and the adjacent districts, amongst whom were Captain Birch and other gentlemen, who rendered every exertion to prevent the spread- ing of the fire. Fortunately the whole of the property was insured. Sergeant Brinson, of the Hants police, has been busily engaged in endeavour- ing to trace the cause of the fire, but without suc- cess. The flames were raging at a late hour, but without any likelihood of effecting further damage. T

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