St Hyacinthe, QB Fire, May 1903


One-fourth of the Population of St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, Left Homeless.

ST. HYACINTHE, Quebec, May 20.---A fire which started shortly after noon to-day in the shoe factory of the Cote Brothers, destroyed half a dozen flourishing industries and 250 houses, leaving nearly a quarter of the city's population homeless. The loss is placed at $400,000. Nobody knows how the fire started. When it was first noticed it had secured a firm hold upon the Cote factory. The wind was blowing half a gale at the time, and the buildings in the immediate vicinity were of such a character as to fall easy prey to the flames. The local Fire Department did its best, but the water pressure was poor, and it was not long before the fire had gotten entirely beyond its control. Word was wired to Montreal for help, and two steamers and a supply of hose made the run of thirty-six miles in forty-four minutes.

Their coming was opportune, for by this time the fire had worked its way up to St. Antoine Street, and was attacking the finest business blocks of the town situated on the market square. Through the efforts of the Montreal men the market building and the buildings on the same side of the square were saved.

The burned district is practically the same as that destroyed in 1876.

The New York Times, New York, NY 21 Mar 1903