In September of 1965 a fire broke out on our Main Street destroying what people called the “pioneer store”. Okilman’s was an institution in Carleton Place. Joann Voyce told me Okilmans was situated where the Moore House now sits. It was two attached stores, Men’s and Women’s wear and right next to what was Patterson’s Furniture Store. Rita and Moses lived in the next building south of the store. They have no idea what caused the fire that night that caused over $100,000 of damage to the three-storey structure. Firemen were called from not only Carleton Place, but also Almonte and Beckwith Township. Moses Okiliman and his wife Rita noticed smoke at 6:30 pm and hightailed it out of the building owned by his father Oscar. No one was hurt, but only a small part of the damage was covered by insurance.
The firemen believe it began in a frame addition used for storage at the rear of the store. A neighbour, Mrs. McRostie, first noticed the smoke and called the fire department. Flames from the fire were seen for miles, and it was all the firemen could do to save the neighbouring buildings.
Another fire in the 1930’s had already destroyed a portion of the store. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but the Okilman’s lost everything, with Mrs. Okiliman only having time to grab her purse.
Ottawa Journal Photo of fireman by Foote 29th September, 1965.–
First photo- Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum
CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa JournalOttawa, Ontario, Canada26 Apr 1928, Thu • Page 1