Hiscock, Mr

Hiscock, Mr              1920 January 1st            Romsey

Fatal Fire at Romsey

Confectioner’s Sad End

Christmas Eve was marked in Romsey by the worst fire that has occurred in the town for a very long period.

It broke out about 10.30pm in The Hundred, at a toy and confectionery shop kept by Mr Hiscock, and in an almost incredibly short time the whole of the interior of the shop and house became like a raging furnace.

The fire bells were rung to summon the fire brigade, and after the engine-house had been opened, it took but a minute to get the apparatus to the scene. An impression was soon made, but although two or three jets were got to work the place was gutted.

So threatening was the fire that the Police sent for the Southampton Brigade, which soon arrived.

In the early minutes of the fire Mrs Hiscock was got safely away, although distressed at the absence of her husband, who had rushed back into the house, presumably to get the valuables, and was trapped, either by smoke or flame, for he never came out again.

The firemen went in as soon as possible and searched till they found the remains.

An inquest was held on Saturday before Mr Ingoldby and a jury.

Mrs Hiscock gave evidence from which it appeared that after the shop was shut on Christmas Eve her husband, having tied up some parcels in the kitchen, went back into the shop and discovered that some pistol caps and other things on a shelf were on fire. He tried to put them out with his coat which he took off but failed. They came out and he gave the alarm. She did not see him go back into the burning premises but she heard him call out from inside, “Save your clothes.” She went in and got out her bicycle and a basket of presents. A policeman asked which room her husband was in but she did not know what was done to save him. She had no idea what caused the fire. There was no cotton wool about and the stove in the shop had not been lighted.

Police-Sergeant Pope deposed to his early attempts to rescuing Mr Hiscock, and those of others, including a sailor.

Dr Bartlett told the jury the result of his examination of the remains, and said that Mr Hiscock undoubtedly became unconscious through the smoke.

The Coroner, in summing up, said the cause of the fire was a complete mystery. He read a letter he had received from the father of Mrs Hiscock giving his son-in-law an excellent character, and adding that he was happy in his business and doing well.

The jury returned a verdict of “Death from Misadventure,” the Coroner saying it was “Accidental Death.”

The Mayor (Clr. C T Waters) expressed sympathy with Mrs Hiscock in her bereavement, remarking that as the funeral was to take place in Winchester it was the only opportunity they had of showing sympathy.

The Coroner associated himself with these remarks.

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