Blazing embers fire homes a mile away as shipyard burns.
$500,000 Midland conflagration destroys 8 houses, coal yards, C.N.R. station.
2 Navy ships lost
Midland, July 15—Damage estimated at more than $500,000 was caused by fire which swept part of Midland's waterfront late Tuesday. Fanned by a high wind, the blaze threatened for a time to wipe out part of the city's business section. No casualties were reported.
Main section of the Midland Boat Works, where two partly-completed naval vessels wroth $190,000 each were lost.
David Pratt's two ice-houses and coal yards.
The C.N.R. station.
Fire leaps blocks
The fire roared through the waterfront structures, jumped blocks away to some of the houses, and burned down two houses fully a mile away from the downtown fire. "If there had been the slightest change in the direction of the wind, it would have threatened the business section of the town, and we would have been pretty near licked," said Chief Peter Griff, of Midland. In setting the damage at half a million dollars the chief said "the property couldn't be replaced for $1,000,000."
For a time the Midland Shipbuilding yards, one of the biggest in North American, were threatened. Other naval vessels are being built there.
Reinforcements and equipment were rushed to this Georgian Bay town from Penetang, three miles, and Barrie, 40 miles away.
Only a black, smoky shambles remains of the main boatworks plant, which included a machine shop, boiler shop, paint shop, carpenter shop, and the ways on which the two vessels were under construction.
Exact cause of the fire has not yet been determined, said the chief, but, he said, the "entire plant went up within minutes. At one time, the ice houses, coal yards, station and all the residences were burning. We did our best, but it was one of those things that happen occasionally. We were called on to fight a big city fire with smalltown equipment."
Boys save freight sheds
Brightest spot, the chief said, was the way all Midland went to work in the face of extreme danger. "I can't single out any hero. Everyone worked and co-operated to the greatest extent. At one time, during the height of the fire, the nearby C.N. freight sheds were threatened. A group of youngsters climbed up on the roof and poured water on it. At times it was so hot they drenched each other with hoses. Women of the Red Cross rushed to the station and assisted in preparing coffee and sandwiches for the crews. They worked till long after mightnight."