Rainey River, ON Fire, Oct 1910

Fire Sweeps Eastward.

RAINEY RIVER, Ont., Oct. 9.----While a wind is sweeping a sea of fire eastward on the south of the Rainey river at a velocity of fifty miles an hour the great body of flames passed this section revealing a calamity that already reaches the proportion of an international disaster. Sixty blackened corpses have been found in the path of the flames and a vast area is yet to be searched for dead while the towns of Spooner, Beaudette and Pitt have been totally destroyed with a property loss that can not be calculated at present. With the exception of the destruction of the mills and stock of the Rathportage Lumber company at Rainey River, the principal loss is confined to the south side of the river and chiefly sustained along the American border.

Railroad and wire communication from the scene from the west are cut off by a burned district from Warroad, Minn., on the Canadian Northern railroad, a distance of forty miles through which the last train passed last night at peril of lives of the crews. The road is open to the south and east however, and relief is being afforded from Fort William. These fires have been smouldering[sic] in that district for months and were started anew by the terrific wind which began two days ago. The wind increased in velocity until it bore a wave of flames 100 feet high and half a mile wide. It was this that caused so many to perish on the railway track. They sought this opening in the bush but were burned to a crisp by the heat wave leaping this barrier of some three hundred yards along the clearing of the railway track.

Rainey River on Fire.

This town was on fire today from the international bridge to Sixth street, a distance of half a mile. In the burned area are the Rathportage Lumber company's mill and lumber yard containing ten million feet of lumber, the Western Canada Flour Mills company and surrounding buildings.

Fifty houses were burned and scores of people are homeless. Fire is raging in the woods as far as can be seen along the south bank of Rainey river. If the wind remains in the north it is possible the rest of Rainey river will be saved. Most of Old Beaudette, situated in Minnesota, and International Bridge, have so far escaped the fire, as well as the building of the Shevlin Mathieu Lumber company at Spooner, through the activity of Canadian Railroad company. Most of the women and children of these towns have been taken on special trains to points cast, and many more are on steamers ready to leave should the wind change and the fire spread.

The fire, driven by a furiouhs[sic] northwest wind, is beyond control and must burn itself out.

Rescued By Train.

The train load steamed across to Rainey River, with men hanging to the sides of the trucks. Women were given first places. Many of those left started running down the tracks and perished thus. Others with great courage stood their grounds and were rescued by the second train.

On this side of the line there seemed no danger until late in the afternoon, when a small fire which had been smoldering for several hours was fanned to a flame. It was in the big Rathportage mills, and the plant and piles of lumber were roaring in an instant. Again the terror stricken fugitives proceeded to depart, since it looked as if Rainey River must go the way of Beaudette.

Trainmaster Nelson, whose unflinching courage and resourcefulness are responsible for saving hundreds, prepared a long line of box cars and the fugitives scrambled aboard. Many Rainey River citizens prepared to desert their homes and the train started east, but the wind turned around and the flames on this side subsided.

General Superintendent Cameron of the Canadian Northern railway wires from Rainey River that his estimate of the number of dead is forty and this many be exceeded.

The Nebraska State Journal, Lincoln, NE 10 Oct 1910