Friday, April 24, 1931 – The Golden Star
Fire Destroys Considerable Portion of Business Section; Whole Town Endangered Wednesday
The origin of the fire has not been determined, but the blaze was first observed on the roof of the picture theatre, about 5 p.m. In a very short time the whole buildings, which consists of a combined picture theatre, pool room and garage on the ground floor and dance hall upstairs, was a mass of flames. Hose was strung out from the C.P.R, pump house but by the time the Loy Restaurant, next door, was burning, so that efforts were concentrated on keeping the post office, immediately opposite, wet, to withstand the terrific heat emanating from the blaze. By the time the pool hall was razed, Collins’ Café to the west of the Loy Restaurant was burning and before very long the whole block was a mere heap of burning debris and the brick chimney of one of the cafes standing straight up as mournful monument. In spite of every effort the newly erected tourist cabins took fire and one by one by one succumbed to the roaring flames, which a west wind vigorously fanned, until there were only two left standing. Hairsine’s barber shop, next to the post office was soon a victim and it seemed inevitable that the post office and the store of T. King immediately in the rear, would also go. However, by dint of much spraying of water and spreading of wet blankets around the roofs, both buildings were saved, intact with the exception of a little water damage. The store of J.T. Weston, was also in danger and all the stock removed, but fortunately unnecessarily. All mail and valuables were removed to a place of safety from the post office and the streets were littered with salvage of every description, which might as well have been left to the mercy of the flames, for most of it was ruined. Various small fires broke out as the far east as the Imperial oil tanks, but were kept under control; the Queen’s and Kootenay hotel roofs breaking out as well as the river road bridge.
Great credit is due to the C.P.R. pump house operators, to those who handled the small auxiliary pumps (lent by the forestry department) and to everyone who tool any part, for without their aid nothing but a miracle could have prevented the conflagration from enveloping the entire town. The damage is estimated at $40,000.00.