Wednesday, April 21, 1971, Vol. 120, No. 16 The Newmarket Era Page 1

Office Specialty fire is proof full-time firemen needed: Gunn

By Don Bernard
Era Staff Reporter

Newmarket—The town's volunteer fire brigade was quickly on the scene of last Thursday's Office Specialty fire, but someone forgot to bring the firefighting equipment.

The fire trucks were hastily brought to the scene when firemen approached a passing motorist and asked for a lift to the Main St. fire station.

Arrow Auto Body owner Dave Williams drove two firemen to the station to pick up the trucks.

And Fire Chief Cliff Gunn said this mix-up was another reason for permanent firemen to be on duty 24 hours a day.

"Volunteer firemen assigned to fire truck driving, could be working out of town, on vacation or sick", said Chief Gunn.

"We have an excellent volunteer department, but it must be supplemented by trained, full-time firemen", he said.

Chief Gunn, who is Newmarket's only full-time firefighter, said a similar incident could happen again under the present circumstances.

Meantime no estimate of the damage to the factory is available.

The spectacular blaze broke in the top floor of the four storey empty factory about 1 p.m.

Within minutes a brisk north wind was sending heavy, black smoke thousands of feet in the air. At one time, when the roof caved in, flames licked 200 feet in the air.

The blaze could be seen from as far away as Toronto.

The fire started when an employee of the Teperman wrecking crew was cutting pipe with an acetylene torch.

Sparks dropped to the floor and a "whoosh of fame" engulfed the paint and sawdust soaked floors of the building built in 1913.

The heat was so intense that a house owned by Robert Edward Martin at the corner of Water and Prospect had to be doused with water.

Mr. Martin, neighbors and high school students used garden hose on the roof and walls and until firemen could bring one of their powerful hoses into play.

Showers of sparks, fed by explosions from paint cans and acetylene tanks, ignited the roofs of two houses on Court St., more than a quarter-mile away. A Queensville fire truck sped to the blazes and quickly extinguished them.

Residents of Martin Manor Nursing Home on Prospect St. were evacuated by ambulance,

(See Fire, page 2)

Railways: C.N.Rys.

Stations: Office Speciality (Newmarket)