The Fire of 1884



The fire of ’84

Liverpool, Nova Scotia


Excerpt from “The Advance” February 27, 1884 zetlandLodge

Last night at about half-past eight o’clock, the Masonic Temple, a Large
building three storeys high, with a mansard roof, situated on the upper
side of Main Street near the old Bridge corner, was discovered to be on


The wind was blowing strongly from the South West with rain squalls and
the prospect of a serious conflagration on such a night was enough to
bring terror to every heart and almost paralyze the efforts of the
citizens to stay the progress of the flames.


In a very few minutes after the alarm was given the engines were on the
ground manned by the full strength of the respective companies and no
time was lost in getting to work, as there was an abundant supply of
water near at hand. Both the fire engines were in good working order
and did capital execution both in quenching the fierceness of the flames
in the Masonic building and in preventing the greater destruction of
property which at the outset seemed inevitable.

When the fire reached its height in the building where it originated,
the heat in the immediate neighborhood was intense, and the spreading of
the flames to the opposite side of the street appeared for a time to be
impossible to be prevented, but the heavy rain which fell at intervals
did much to quench the flames and arrest their progress.


The men of the fire companies No. 1 and No. 2 under the command of A. W.
Moren and Charles F. Lockhart worked nobly and too high praise cannot be
accorded to them for their bravery and pluck. No. 2 engine played on
the rear of Masonic Temple and effectually prevented the flames from
extending to the Cullinen house, which for some time was in the greatest
danger of destruction from the fiery element, but by the efforts of the
firemen aided by the high wind which carried the flames in a North-
Easterly direction, any destruction of property to the Westward was
averted. Fortunately the buildings immediately adjoining the Masonic
Temple on the East were only a story and a half in height, and it was
comparatively easy for the firemen to work at them. The progress of the
flames to the Eastward was not arrested, however, until the building
owned and occupied by Mr. Joseph Cole as a Tailor’s shop, was totally
consumed and the building adjoining, owned by the Knaut estate and
occupied by J. Hammond, much damaged by the flames. Another small
building adjoining the last mentioned also owned by the Knaut estate,
but unoccupied was partially torn down.

No. 1 Engine played on the buildings on the opposite side of the street.
Here the firemen also displayed a great amount of bravery and endurance
as the heat was most intense and showers of cinders were falling thick
and fast. Young Morgan, the nozzleman of No. 1, stuck to his post until
the last, althought sic he is quite new to the business. Patch’s
stores, Crowell’s tailor shop and the building occupied by R. S. Sterns
were on fire several times as the scorched and blackened fronts testify
but victory finally crowned the efforts, of the firemen and at two
o’clock in the morning all further danger was declared to be over.


At four o’clock, however, the wind having come around to the northward,
blowing smartly, the fire among the ruins began to blaze up and the fire
bells again sounded out the alarm, but on the firemen re-appearing on
the scene, they soon effectually quenched the last remains of the


When first discovered, the fire was in the upper part of the Masonic
Temple, in the south west corner adjoining Mrs. Cullinen’s Hotel. The
supposition is that it originated from a defect in the chimney, but
nothing is known positively as to the cause. There can be no doubt,
however, that the fire was purely the result of accident.


The Masonic Temple a noble building, an ornament to the town, erected by
Zetland Lodge of Freemasons about ten years ago, at a total cost of
about $12,000 is totally consumed.


The upper story of the building was occupied by Zetland Lodge and
Rosignol sic Chapter of Royal Arch Masons. These two bodies have
lost all their regalia and furniture, on which there was no insurance.
Their loss cannot be far short of $730.


Our contemporary the Liverpool Times has suffered severely by
this disaster, its printing press, type, and all the usual paraphernalia
of a newspaper office, which was on the second story being totally
destroyed, but we are glad to learn there is some insurance.

The billiard table on the same story, owned by Mr. J. E. Barss is also a
total loss.

Some of the stock in Mr. Barss’ shop was saved in a damaged condition.

Mr. Patrick Butler who was about to open a restaurant in the smaller
shop, in the same building and had just moved in, succeeded in saving
the most of his property.

Mrs. Cullinen had no insurance on her furniture which was very much
damaged by water and in the hurry of removal. Her loss exceeds $500.
The building was partially gutted, a large hole having been knocked into
the roof by the falling of one of the chimnies of the Masonic building
and was completely drenched with water.

Mr. Joseph Cole succeeded in saving his stock of cloths and clothing but
his building was totally destroyed. There was no insurance either on
building or stock.

The two small buildings owned by the Knaut estate were partially

On the opposite side of the street the stores occupied by Mr. F. O. L.
Patch were considerably damaged both by fire and water. When the
building first took fire Mr. Patch began to remove his stocks which was
more or less damaged in consequence. Both Building and stock are

The building owned by Mr. Edward Kempton and occupied by Mr. Jonathan
Crowell as a Tailor’s Shop, was much damaged by fire and water. Mr.
Crowell succeeded in saving the most of his goods.

Mr. James M. Kempton’s building, occupied by Mr. Edward Kempton in the
upper part as a dwelling, and by Mr. R. S. Sterns in the lower part as
the Government Saving Bank and Insurance Office, etc., was much
scorched. The building is partially insured, we understand.

The building occupied by Mr. Patch as also his stock, are partially

The shop in the McLean building is occupied by Mr. Stephen P. Clement’s
who had no insurance on his stock and suffered the usual losses
inevitably accompanying a hasty removal.


The following is the amount of insurance that we have been able to
ascertain: J. E. Barss, on the Masonic building in the Royal, $2,000;
on stock in shop, in the Western $3,000; and in the Northern, on
printing press and material, $300; on billiard table, $200; total for
Mr. Barss, $5,500.

The building occupied by Mrs. Cullinen, and owned by Miss Jane McLean,
is insured but we did not learn for what amount.


The Fire Wardens being promptly on hand were conspicuous in their
efforts to preserve order and advise the Captains of the Fire Companies
as to the best manner in which to use their skill in attacking the foe

The Fire Constables should have been very busy and we suppose they were,
as the usual amount of small thievery was indulged in.

The citizens generally, male and female, worked nobly in assisting the
firemen and endeavoring to save the property of those who were in


We need a Protection Company whose duty it would be to rescue property
in a systematic manner and protect it after it was saved.

A good deal of property which might be saved is destroyed by careless
handling and a good deal is lost, stolen or mislaid.

We are glad that we have no casualties to report, althought sic
our heroic firemen seemed to run all sorts of risks without thought or
heed of danger.

Although we have had a severe lesson, we must congratulate the community
upon escaping a more serious calamity, happily averted by a kind
Providence aiding the efforts of those whose special duty it is to
protect us from the fire fiend.