Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 22 Jun 1917, Fri, Page 2
Photos-Lanark & District Museum
Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 22 Jun 1917, Fri, Page 8
Photos-Lanark & District Museum
Clipped from The Winnipeg Tribune, 09 Sep 1916, Sat, Page 11
The Clyde Woolen Mills were completely destroyed by fire last Thursday night. Of the large main building in which all the manufacturing was carried on nothing remains but portions of the massive stone walls and a great” heap of smoking debris. The dye-house was also utterly gutted.
The Superintendent’s house also fell prey to the flames, but the office and shipping room, store houses and a few other outhouses were saved by the excellent and effective work of the firemen. The damage amounts to one hundred thousand dollars, covered by insurance to the extent of fifty-one thousand dollars. The fire originated at about 9.45 p.m. in the boiler house, and was first noticed by Mr. Ben Cardinal, night watchman, on. his return from one’ of his hourly rounds. He had just returned to his waiting quarters in the boiler room and had gone to an adjoining department for a handful of waste with which to wipe the engine. When he came back he saw a small smouldering fire in a wood pile which stands in reserve in the boiler room., Deciding that he could extinguish thfe blaze quite easily with a sprinkling, of water, he went to procure a pailful and found upon his return that the flames had developed out of control, reaching high up the walls and all around the boiler room.
The alarm was given and help quickly at hand, but so sudden and furious had the burning developed that it was impossible to do anything of an effective nature. The mill fire-fighting plant was situated inside the building, near at hand, but the raging flames prevented this being brought into service. In a few minutes devastation had spread east and upwards to the spinning and carding departments and westward to the finishing room. The last room of all to come to ruin was the weaving.
Bursting from their confinement in the interior of the building, the flames passed out and over to the dye house and curled on in the direction of Mr. Grierson’s house. At the rear of the main building are a number of storehouses in which are kept large stocks of wool and other raw material. In line with these stands the picker house, and just south of it the office and ship-‘ ping room, where quantities of valuable finished goods were shelved.
The cloth from the shipping room was all removed to places of safety. Danger to the wool houses was immediate and serious, and as.the firemen had all they could do to hold down the danger at the east and north ends, the chances of cutting off the wool losses seemed remote.
Extra precautionary measures were taken in this direction and all in readiness with men and teams to remove the wool in short order. The arrival of the Perth fire brigade relieved the situation. They had been summoned and made the journey from Perth by means of relays of teams at points along every few miles in one hour and twenty minutes. In the mill itself large quantities of prepared wool were stored and considerable quantities of goods throughout the mill in various stages of manufacture. In the scouring house downstairs a miscellaneous assortment of goods were ready for the machines, and these were not recovered.
Dye stuffs valued at many thousands of dollars were in stock in the dyehouse and these are part of the important losses, as they were bought in the early stages of the war and had greatly enhanced in value as well as being very difficult to replace. The destruction is so complete that all the order and form and plan of this industry, which was at once. Lanark’s pride and main ’support, has passed back into the elements, and nothing remains but the slag of the ruin.
In the meantime plans have been advanced for recovering as far as possible the break in production. Appleton will take care of the finishing until machinery can be installed in the Perth plant. The Aberdeen mill in Lanark will be doubled up in capacity by overtime. The citizens of Lanark fully realize their loss. The character of the man at the head of the industry which has suffered has impressed itself upon and is reflected in every department of village life. It would be a matter of universal regret were no way found to approach an adjustment and restoration of conditions under the old order of things.