AWFUL FIRE IN ENNISKILLEN.
On Sunday morning, about half-past twelve o’clock, the church bells rung the fire alarm, and soon the inhabitants of Enniskillen were roused to witness one of the most awful fires ever witnessed in a country town.
A square block measuring about 70 feet frontage in High-street, extending to Cole’s-lane about 150 feet, was all in one blaze and down-tumble in two or three hours. The fire spread so quickly that little could be done, to save property; and some of the inmates had to fly for their lives without their dress.
The block was occupied by Whitley Brothers, bakers, grocers, leather cutters, and general wholesale provision dealers, and was divided into three shops. The fire commenced In a tea store over the kitchen, near to which was a pile of bacon, and immediately adjoining were several large stores for bread stuffs. Had the fire been discovered a little earlier, a few buckets of water would have extinguished it; but that failing the flames rushed through the premises as if lightning were the agent of destruction.
Efforts were made to remove as much as possible of the goods in the, shops— seeing- that the flames had cut off access to the stores-and succeeded n getting away all the leather, the articles in the main shop, and some furniture. The horses and cattle were n other premises, except a calf, the cries of which were piteous, but which was saved by two dare-devils who risked their own lives in its rescue, and got their coats burned off their backs in the act.
The fire did not confine itself to the Whitley premises. Mr Cooney, draper on one side; Mr Molyneux, watch-maker and jeweller, on the other side; were well singed, and would have both shared the fate of their neighbour but for the great efforts made to save them. The fire had burned out Mr Molyneux’s rere windows and ignited the staircase. The flames were kept in check by Mr Wm. Quinion, Wine merchant, who took his post in the blaze and being well helped by water carriers, succeeded in extinguished them. Mr Patterson, S.I., and others took timely precaution at Mr Cooney’s, which were successful. Yet Messrs. Cooney and Molyneux suffered much loss by the removal of their goods to other houses; as did also Messrs Johnston and Carson, drapers, Mr S. Little, grocer and some others.
The thought is terrible when we ask ourselves what would have been the result if high wind had prevailed!— Everything was dry as tinder, and the whole town might have been consumed had not, luckily a calm continued.
The officers and men of the 29th Regiment were promptly on the ground and did good service with the barrack engine. The soldiers worked away till they were exhausted and rested not till the fire was got under. The officers excelled; in a mild, firm, and gentlemanly bearing in keeping order and the magistrates and police were not wanting. Mr Smith J.P. carried his bucket of water with a will Captain Butler, R. M. and Dr. Walsh were everywhere, and anything but idle! The County Inspector Bailey and Sub-Inspector Patterson headed the police energetically and their men did well. Harrington, Sly (or Sleigh), Duffy, and some others did deeds of daring, that ought to be rewarded! Four of our own young men worked hard. But all pale before the achievements of two young townsmen, John Howe and Charles Aunon. Those two were worth a hundred. Only that testimonials have become so common, so cheap, so worthless, and so ill applied of late, we would vote them the thanks of the town in public assembly. However our own truthful testimony will suffice.
Mr Robert Gordon chairman of the Town Commissioners, did his best but was badly aided by the corporation engine, which was consistent in its refusal to work being out of order. A fire brigade should be organised immediately of the young men of the town which would be much more manly and utile than fooling as amateur bandsmen. The suffering and inconvenience is deplorable but none of the parties will suffer loss, all being insured in the North British and Mercantile, the Globe, the Royal and other good offices.