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A rash of fires in 1921 destroyed several buildings in Gagetown and neighbouring Upper Gagetown. Forest fires that year undoubtedly triggered many of these catastrophes, but residents believed some to be the work of arsonists. Sometime between 1900 and 1914, Mrs. E. Simpson's name and subscription of $15.00 appeared on a petition calling for the Village of Gagetown to purchase a "chemical fire engine and double acting hand pump" for fire protection. But just when the Simpsons needed it most one evening in August 1921 that engine was several miles away in Upper Gagetown. According to a local newspaper:

 

"On Sunday evening at 10 o'clock the chimney of Mrs. Simpson's house at this place caught fire and for a time it was feared that a considerable portion of the town would go. This block contains the Bank of Nova Scotia and the post office buildings. Buckets were used to good effect in keeping the roofs wet. The chemicals were away at Upper Gagetown fighting the fire there and consequently the men here were handicapped. Fortunately, the fire burned out and the inhabitants breathed a sigh of relief."

 

".on Sunday evening, when the fire bell announced a fire at the residence of the Misses Simpson, on the front street, and when sparks were seen flying in all directions, it seemed as if the climax had been reached. Fortunately, the majority of the Gagetown men had returned and after an hour and a half of watching, the danger was over. With the wind blowing directly up the front street, the danger was by no means small."

 

 

Excerpts from unidentified newspapers, Marianne Grey Otty's scrapbooks, New Brunswick Museum S119, F116-122; F126-129.