The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

April 30th, 2012

Royal Hotel lost in fire

Dec. 22, 1931Springhill Record
Royal Hotel in Ruins; Entire Side of Main Street Threatened by Flames; Origin Unknown

Fire of unknown origin, broke out in the Royal Hotel Monday evening about 7:20 and four hours afterwards when Fire Chief Archie Potter called off the gallant crew of firemen the top story of the building, where the fire had been confined during the hectic struggle in the cold and driving snow, was a mass of black ruins.  The flames did little or no damage to the first or second floors, which were practically ruined by the tons of water poured into the structure from six streams.

     The alarm was rung about 7:20 p.m. and when the blaze was inspected by Constable Newcombe a few seconds later, the officer stated that it was in the walls in room 23.  Failure to find an instrument with which to tear off the window casing to enable him to get at the blaze gave the fire a brief time to make further headway before the firemen could get into action.

     With several streams playing on the roof and every indication that the flames would break through at any minute, the call was sent in for the Company Brigade and it was not long before additional assistance was in action and rendering valuable support.

     With six streams of water on the structure from all angles the fire failed to gain headway through the roof but hung stubbornly inside the walls where it was most difficult to reach.  At ten o’clock the water pressure began to show the effects of the battle and the pressure dropped from sixty pounds to forty.  A couple of streams were shut off, but the tank on the hill had been emptied and the pressure gauge continued to drop and at eleven o’clock had reached 26 pounds.  By this time the fire had been cornered in the front of the building and two or three streams were used to good advantage.  Inside the boys were working like Trojans in the smoke and water and George Burden collapsed.  He was taken to Dr. Withrow’s office where he soon came around.

     At eleven o’clock the flames were still licking away at the front of the building and it looked as though the battle was far from over, although well under control, but at 11:20 the Fire Chief ordered the water off and another thrilling chapter was written into the history of the local brigade.

     One could write reams of the heroic work of the firemen.  Never once did they falter in their efforts, although the weather was bitterly cold and later in the evening a driving snow storm came up to further hinder them in their work.  Through it all, soaked to the hide and with chattering teeth, they hung to their task until the flames were conquered and the rest of the street saved from the conflagration.

     Tuesday morning’s inspection of the ruins gave evidence of the terrific battle.  The third floor is practically gutted.  The walls are a charred mass of ruins; the roof in places was burned away and the floor is a puddle of water.  A great deal of the furniture and fixtures of the building were saved by the splendid work of the volunteers who ventured through the smoke and water to save what they could.

     The loss is practically a total one.  Insurance was carried on the building and contents to the amount of over five thousand.  Only a short time ago the owner, Budd Richie, who took over the hotel on the death of his father a few weeks ago, was offered a substantial sum for the business from a well known hotel man.

Oct. 20, 1932Bus Overturns on Valley Road This Morning.

     Returning from Halifax this morning a big Grey Line Bus from Moncton, carrying twenty members of the Cumberland Highlanders home from a Ceremonial Parade at Eastern Canada’s Exhibition Wednesday afternoon, overturned at Hyatt’s Corner on the Valley Road, injuring six of the occupants.  Preliminary reports indicate that none of the injuries sustained were serious.  News of the accident was received by the Record from George Michelson, a member of the party , who stated that the accident happened at 5:30 a.m.and that it took several hours for the party to reach Springhill.  The driver of the bus, who hails from Moncton, was not acquainted with the sharp turn at this point on the road and speeding along he discovered the turn suddenly and in an effort to make it hurriedly, overturned his bus, damaging it considerably and injuring six of the occupants, boys from Amherst.  None of the Springhill detachment was injured.

     The detachment left here Wednesday morning for the Capital City and yesterday afternoon competed with a detachment of the Pictou Highlanders at the exhibition.  Among the Springhill boys making the trip were Truman Canning, Robert Crossman, Dennis MacKey, Carl Rector, Norman Cook, William Clark, George Michelson, Jack Chandler, Michael Moore, Art Noiles.