Wednesday, April 21, 1971, Vol. 120, No. 16 The Newmarket Era Page 2, col. 5

Workmen ignite Specialty blaze

(Continued from page 1)

although the house was not threatened.

The 48 patients were removed in orderly fashion as high school students and passerby pitched in to help.

The bed-ridden were removed to the gymnasium at nearby Newmarket District High School for the day while others were housed in nearby homes. One house three doors from the nursing home took in 19 patients.

One elderly woman thanked her host for the "lovely, interesting day".

Miraculously nobody was injured and firemen credit the wind direction for the relatively minor loss.

If the wind had been from the south, the entire factory could have been lost. Sparks could have ignited another old Office Specialty building across the street on Timothy St. and te Newmarket Arena, they said.

If the wind had been from the west, the Office Specialty office building, which is to be the site of the York Region Police Headquarters, would have been lost. Sparks could have ignited a number of wooden houses on Prospect St.

If the wind had been from the east, the entire lower part of the Main St. commercial district would have been threatened.

At the height of the blaze, fire departments from Newmarket, Aurora, Holland Landing and Queensville poured millions of gallons of water onto the blaze.

It was brought under control in about three houses, but a Newmarket fire truck stayed on overnight in case it should erupt again. The truck doused the smoldering ruins on Friday afternoon after the Teperman wreckers knocked the sagging third and fourth floor walls down.

The walls threatened to crash down onto the railway tracks and onto Water St. They were warped from the intense heat which opened huge cracks and in some cases pulverized the brick.

A total of eight fire trucks and more than 60 firefighters were on the scene.

Aurora firemen pumped water from Fairy Lake with their pumper and others on the ladder truck received a scare when they pulled it near the west side of the factory. Exploding windows and the sagging wall forced them to beat a hasty retreat. They removed their truck to the east side of the building and poured water down into the blaze.

The Holland Landing brigade lost two ladders in the blaze. The Newmarket pumper had to be constantly hosed down as the heat melted the truck's overhead plastic dome light.

Early in the fire, the water from some of the hoses would not reach past the second floor. The fire was raging on the third and fourth floors at the time.

Chief Gunn said this was caused by too many hoses drawing from the same hydrant. The lines were quickly rerouted through pumper trucks to increase the pressure.

Another reason he said why the water wouldn't reach the upper floors was because firemen were unable to control more pressure on the hoses.

Chief Gunn said Newmarket Council has consistently refused to purchase more modern equipment. The most recent Ontario Fire Marshal's report, made public in July 1969, recommended the purchase of a combination pumper and aerial truck.

Only late last month, council rejected his request for full-time firemen, but approved a full-time deputy chief.

Teperman had only liability insurance on the building.

Railways: C.N.Rys.

Stations: Office Speciality (Newmarket)