Posted by Royal on June 22, 2008 at 16:05:39:
I came across a newspaper article which described “one of the worst fires, in living memory” which occurred in Main Street, Castlebar in August, 1935.
At 2 a.m., a fire broke out in the business premises of Martin Parsons (boot & leather warehouse) & Pat Regan (drapery business), which were built in one block, over the river in Main St., in 1925 and owned by Richard Condon. The alarm was raised by neighbour T.A.Lavelle, who with a large no of civilians & Guards, worked frantically through the night to contain & finally extinguish the raging fire. Thankfully, nobody lived on the premises which threatened at one stage, to spread to the houses in Linenhall Street, particularly Dick O’Donnell’s & McNeely’s. They were all evacuated amid scenes of panic & alarm.
The Guards were under the control of Sergts. Finnerty & McTiernan, with the aid of Guards O’Rourke, Rosengrave, O’Shea, McDonnell, Small, McPartland & Mulligan. Civilians included Tommy & Paddy Brady, James Chambers, Ned McMenamon, M.Marley, Dick Condon & S.J.McCormack. Most worked through the night with Messrs. Parson & Regan, with great courage to retrieve anything they could from the blazing inferno &/or to carry water for the different angles of the houses. Their clothes are described as been damaged and torn or destroyed in the course of the operations.
Peter Horkan, the Waterworks Manager worked hard connecting the hose & seeing that a good supply of water from the river was maintained but it quickly became apparent that the town required a more modern fire-fighting apparatus.
The cause of the fire was suspected of been a fusing electric wire & damages was estimated at a whopping £40,000.
Thankfully, no-one was seriously injured & two weeks later, an advert appeared in the Connaught Telegraph, announcing that Parsons had secured the premises known as “Clarke’s, The Steps, Main Street” and was opening soon for business.
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