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£3,000 DAMAGE

Extract from Northampton Mercury 21 February 1913

A serious fire occurred at Burton Latimer on Monday night, when damage to the extent of over £3,000 was caused at the factory of Messrs Ward Bros Clothing Co. The building, which is adjacent to the main street, practically in the centre of the village, was formerly used as a boot factory. For about two years it has been occupied by Messrs Ward Bros as a clothing factory.

Photograph of Mr A E Ward Photograph of Mr J H Ward

The factory was built in the form of a letter L, the warehouse, where the outbreak originated, lying at the rear of Mr C Barlow's grocery and butcher's stores. (To the rear of the gas company office - more recently the China Palace Restaurant).

Photograph of Gas Shop Building at front of factory premisesf
Factory situated above these premises

The building was two storeys high, the whole of the upper rooms, about 160 feet in length, being used by the firm, the lower portion being occupied by Mr Barlow as a coachhouse and stables. The fire broke out near to the stove in the warehouse at the southern end of the building, and was first noticed by a lad named Johnson, who observed sparks flying over the houses into the main street. He at once called Mr Adams, who lives in a house adjoining the factory and a messenger also hurried off for Fireman Waters.

Picture of fire hose cart (1930)
The Fire Hose Cart (1930) as used in 1913

About three minutes later the resounding crash of rockets alarmed the village, and a large crowd quickly assembled. After discharging the fire rockets, Firemen Waters and Miller dashed off with the hose cart, being quickly followed by Captain A C Harris and the remainder of the brigade. A connection was made to two hydrants in the main street, and in a few minutes three powerful jets of water were being played on the fire, which had by this time burst through the road. Fanned by a strong wind the flames quickly enveloped the whole of the warehouse, and at some risk the carts and carriages were pulled out and removed to a place of safety. Three horses were also safely rescued and temporarily stabled at the Red Cow Inn.

Photograph of The Red Cow Inn
The Red Cow Inn where the horses were temporarily stabled

The brigade worked strenously, and succeeded in checking the spread of the fire to the extensive machine rooms. The office was separated from the warehouse by a pair of fireproof doors, which withstood the attack of the flames in that direction, the only damage there being caused by water. The warehouse was very heavily stocked, the firm only that afternoon receiving a large quantity of cloth for the spring trade. Members of the firm were early on the scene, and assisted by a number of willing helpers removed a large quantity of made-up clothing to safe quarters.

PS Beal was one of the first arrivals on the scene and he was quickly joined by PC Holland and PS Powell of Finedon.  Later Superintendent Hooper, Inspector Dunn and PS Johnson motored over from Kettering. The Brigade operations lasted some hours, and the police admirably controlled the large crowd so that the firemen were not hampered in their movements. The fire has occurred at a most unfortunate time, as the firm are extremely busy. The damage is covered by insurance.

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