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Wellingborough & Kettering News 17/04/1891, transcribed by Peter Brown
The straw at Mr. Mason’s

Mason's farm
Mason's Farm - stood where Victoria Court was built in 2010

Serious Fire at Rushden
An alarming outbreak of fire occurred at Rushden on Wednesday afternoon, about a quarter-past five, on the farm premises occupied by Mr. Stewart Mason, at the Higham end of the town. It is commonly reported that the outbreak was due to a couple of lads playing with matches — though at present this needs confirmation — near to a large rick of recently-thrashed straw, standing in a field close to Mr. Mason’s stack-yard. The large rick was soon in a furious blaze. Close to it was a stack of beans, erected upon the walls of one of the sheds forming one side of the stock-yard, and this stack, notwithstanding that the fire was at the farthest side of the straw rick, and the wind against it, was also soon well alight. From this the fire ran along the roofs of the sheds on the east side of the yard, caught some loose quantities of straw on the ground, and ignited a haystack at the other end of the premises. The straw on the ground inside the yard was also alight, and it looked at one time as if the whole premise, house and all, were doomed to destruction. By dint of hard work, however, the fire was kept back in the interior of the yard, and so prevented from touching the buildings on the north side. Some 20 or 30 cattle were in the yard previous to the fire, but these were fortunately got out in safety. Contiguous to the bean stack was a large barn on the west side, and great efforts were made by a number of hard workers to save this. Great risk was incurred in doing so, for the fire had caught the shed underneath it, and blazed up on the other side before those engaged on the rick were aware of their danger, and a hasty retreat was necessitated. All this occurred in considerably less than half an hour, and the Brigade, who arrived in quick time after the alarm had been given, set to work with a will to stay the progress of the fire. The barn mentioned on the west side, however, was doomed, and the Brigade and a number of other willing workers had to go still further back. It was now seen that the only thing to save the homestead was to strip the thatch from a building between the house and the burning barn, and whilst a copious stream was poured on the barn, the adjoining building was unroofed, and further progress of the fire stayed. The fire engine was planted in the field the other side of the road, and by damming up the brook a good supply was obtained, which, however, was fully 150 yards from the scene of the fire. But though it was terribly hard work, pumpers stuck to their task well, and the fire was gradually beaten back, and all danger of a further spread being assured against, the stacks and sheds were allowed to burn themselves out. We understand that the loss, amounting to about £300, is covered by insurance in the Liverpool, London, and Globe Office.

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