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FIRE AT ABERYSTWYTH.

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FIRE AT ABERYSTWYTH. NO FIRE BRIGADE. GREAT GAS EXPLOSION FEARED A SPLENDID WATER SUPPLY AVERTS DANGER. About midnight on Thursday a fire broke out in the Skin-preparing Works and Wool Stores in Mill- street, belongiogto Mr A. J. W;.tkiu James of Dolybont. The works a/join the Steam Laundry and Electria Light Works,with the Tabernacle C.M. Chapel on the opposite of the street. Within a few feet of the back wall of the works is ..n immense gas-holder recently erected by the Aber- ystwyth Gas Company. Th° fire of itself was not aD exceedingly serious matter, but fears enter- tained that at any moment the flames and the heat might cause an explosion in the gas-holder with consequences that are fearful to contemplate. Immediately with the alarm, a large number of people went to the spot, hut many almost imme- diately left fearing an explosion others ran for buckets and endeavoured to cope with the fire pend ing arrival of fire appliances. People in the adjoin- ing houses all cleared out and went to places of safety, among them being some women in a delicate state of health. The premises consisted, as has been stated, of tannery pits and wool stores. In the basement were pits for the curing of sheep-skins as well as of a fire-place for wool drying. The ground floor above contained wool storing rooms, and there is a floor above that, which contained on the night of the fire several tons of wocl and skins. On the eastern corner of the building, in the upper storey, was the office of Mr Hopkins, Mr James's Aber- ystwyth buyer. Mr Hopkins was engaged in office work on Thursday night and left about seven o'clock. Mr William Parry, Mr James's skinner, was in the works av-o-.t half-past nine when everything ap- peared to be alright. About five minutes to twelve a student of the University College of Wales lodging in Mr R. Ellis, coal merchant's house, Mill-street, saw that the place was on fire and rushed to the Police Station to give the alarm. P.S. Phillips happened to be coming from the direction of Shiloh through North-parade and on meeting the student at the junction of Chalybeate-s'reet and hearing of the outbreak, he, in company with P.C's. Cftarmanand Rowlands, went at once for assistance. P.C. Row- lands went to Mr Rees Jones, the boiough surveyor, who, 08 the resignation of the Fire Brigade some time back, under circumstances which are well known, was d.r cted to make temporary arrangements for dealing with a fire pend- ing the organisation of a brigade. P.C. Charman aroused Mr David Edwards, the turncock, and socn afterwards Mr Evan Evans, one of the carters engaged by the Corporation, went down to the Fire Brigade Station in Smithfield-road. In the meantime someone had gone to the Gasworks to set the hooter going to alarm the town. For some cause, at present unexplained, the hooter for a short time refused t act, but it was eventually sounded. P.S. Phillips and Mr Evan Evana lost no time in endeavi uring to get the appliances out of the station where, in the absence of the keys, they burst open the door. They had brought out the reel when Mr Rees Jones, the surveyor, came and with the assistance of people who were now beginning to arrive, they took it to the site of the fire in Mill-street and attached it to the hydrant. There was immediately a mag- nificent supply of water under very high pressure, the service reservior being between two and three hundred feeb above the town and kept plentifully supplied from the lake of Plyulymon mountain, some eighteen miles off. A crowd of about a hundred persons had by this time arrived. When the water was turned on it was found that the hose was so defective in several places that the water rushed outin streams and adelay offive orseven minutes occurred in removing the defective lengths and substituting good ones. Meanwhile Mr Peake, the former captain of the Fire Brigade, and many members of the Brigade had come on the scene. Mr Peake, probably finding that the work was being properly attended to by the Borough Surveyor and his men and fearing a, gas explosion, went home to turn off the gas from his house. About this time the fire had obtained a strong hold of the centre of the eastern side of the building, not far from where the office was situated and within dangerous proximity to the gas-holder. The flames lighted up the whole locality and afforded considerable help to the men engaged in making good the hose. Notwithstanding the time thus lost owing to the state of the hose, a powerful stream of water was got on the burning building within fifteen minutes of the alarm. Two hoses were eventually brought to play on the fire and excellent work was being done by engine cleaners from the Railway Station, Corporation workmen and others. Messsrs W. Michael, R. Davies, W. Jones, and R. Worthington, members of the late Fire Brigade, lent a willing hand in extinguishing the flames. Otijer members of the Brigade were also pre- sent. Councillor T. E. Salmon, the chairman of the Fire Brigade Committee, was among the first on the spot and was joined soon afterwards by the Chief Constable and other public men of the town. It is understood that the pre- mises are insured. The excellent water supply and the willing and able way in which Mr Rees Jones and his men; the late members of the Brigade; the police officers; Mr Jack Rea, and others worked saved the situation. In twenty minutes from the commencement, the fire was got under and in an hour it had been completely extinguished and all danger had passed. Mr Rees Jones, the borough surveyor, says he was called upon by a constable a little before mid- night. He at once hurried down to the station and when he got to the Square he was met by Mr James Evans, the inspector, Mr Evan Evans, and P.S. Phillips, and others who had already had the fire appliauce3 out and were bringing them up. Mr David Edwards, the turn- cock also was soon on the spot. The reel was taken to the site of the fire and the hose was attached to the nearest hydrant. Strange to say, the hose burst in three or four places and fresh lengths had to be substituted for the broken ones, but ulti- mately two streams of water were brought to bear on the fire, which was got under in a very short time. Mr Jones is grateful for the ready assistance given by everybody and especially by Messrs Bill Jones, Michael, and R. Davies, former members of the Brigade. The bursting of the hose, he said, was a mystery to him

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ABERYSTWYTH. I

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