Quebec, QB Fire, May 1876

THE CONFLAGRATION IN QUEBEC.

FURTHER DETAILS OF THE GREAT FIRE----SIX OR SEVEN HUNDRED HOUSES BURNED AND AS MANY THOUSAND PEOPLE HOMELESS---- SCENES AND INCIDENTS.

QUEBEC, May 31.----At 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon a fire-alarm was sounded and repeated several times. A large number of people repaired to the spot, and found that the fire had broken out in the stable of Leon Boivin, a carter living in Scott street, caused, it is said, by children playing with matches. The fire quickly spread to the houses adjoining. There was a smart westerly breeze blowing at the time, and this served to carry the flames to the roofs of neighboring houses, and when it is understood that a large number of buildings were of wood, it can readily be imagined with what rapidity the fire spread. Immense clouds of black smoke belched forth and threw a dark shadow over the vicinity. Vehicles of all kinds were pressed into service, and the residents commenced moving their property. Valuable articles of furniture were thrown from windows or drawn out through doorways, soon blocking up the pavements and the streets, and through all heavily-laden horses were whipped and urged by half frantic drivers, colliding with vehicles and household effects, and mixing in inextricable confusion, with men and women rushing wildly hither and thither looking for their children, and children looking for their parents, all pulling and tugging at their little effects which constituted their all. John street and the lower suburbs were crowded with household goods saved and deposited on the sidewalks, and in every vacant space. St. Louis street and the cricket-field were similarly occupied, while the lower fields, toward the close of night, looked like a fair ground. Police were early on the ground, as were also the fire-brigade in full strength, but as usual the water supply was long in coming. The Levis steam-engine was kindly offered by the Mayor of that town when it appeared that the conflagration was assuming dangerous proportions, and it did excellent service during the evening in checking the spread of the fire in St. Eustache drawing its supply of water from a well at the Esplanade, and projecting it through two and three thousand feet of rubber hose. The city steam fire-engine was also brought up and located in the vicinity of St. John's Church, but it did not seem to get into proper working order until the evening was somewhat advanced, owing to the scanty supply of water.

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