To-day (Friday) a fire broke out in a factory in Park-place, Rushden, occupied on the bottom floor by Mr. Barwick, shoe finisher, and in the upper storey by Mr. Eli Knight, printer. As the fire occurred at the time the workpeople were returning to work, an immense crowd soon congregated. The Fire Brigade, under the command of Captain Fred Knight, were soon on the spot, and there was a fairly good supply of water available.
By 2 p.m. the whole of the building was in flames. Burning paper was flying about in all directions, and a high wind prevailed at the time. It was soon seen that there was no hope of saving the machinery or type.
The machinery from the upper stories fell with a tremendous crash and was soon in ruins.
By a quarter past two the whole of the roof had fallen in and the efforts of the firemen were directed towards saving the adjoining property.
Mr. Geo. Mitchell, who lives opposite, is quite sure that the flames first appeared through the right-hand side of the north gable, downstairs.
The house of Mr. Mitchell opposite was cleared of its furniture as a precaution, but fortunately the flames were prevented from spreading to the adjoining property, the whole of which was saved. Unfortunately the force of water was not strong.
Mr. Barwick states that when he left the factory at 1.10 everything was all right, and he had no suspicion of a fire until he was fetched out of the house.
Mr. Eli Knight’s employees state that when they left the factory at 1.15 all appeared to be safe, and there was no sign of fire.
At 1.30, when Mr. Barwick’s men were returning to work, and before the door was unlocked, they noticed a smell of burning and directly afterwards flames burst through the doorway. An alarm was given and P.C. Wallis was quickly on the spot. He at once communicated with Mr. Harry Knight, an old fireman, who was near, and that gentleman promptly fetched the hose cart, Mr. Harry Seckington and Mr. Claud Green accompanying him.
The firemen were speedily at work, under Captain F. Knight, Foreman C. E. Bayes, Engineer Colson, and Sub-engineer Goodwin.
The building is the property of Mr. Joseph Barwick, and it is doubtful whether it was insured.
Mr. Eli Knight’s plant and stock were not insured.
Mr. Barwick being a sewer for the trade, the fire affects many manufacturers of Rushden, inasmuch as he had a quantity of other people’s goods to finish off.
The total damage is roughly estimated at £2,000.