1907 09 20

1907 September 20th         Winterbourne – Fire on the Railway

A platelayers hut situated on the railway at the back of Winterbourne Vicarage was destroyed by fire on Sunday afternoon. The outbreak was discovered by the railways officials on a passing goods train at about 12.30pm. They gave the alarm to the stationmaster at Porton who at once despatched a body of workmen to the scene of the outbreak. Through the absence of any water supply little could be done to save the hut which was built entirely of railway sleepers covered with several coats of tar. The hut contained a large amount of stores used in repair of the railway, likewise a supply of the necessary tools, many of which were the sole property of the men employed, as were also four overcoats which were consumed.

So intense did the heat become that it was considered prudent to make arrangements for both up and down trains to pass the spot on the down side, the side most remote from the burning hut. Mr Richard Blake, The Elms, Winterbourne, kindly sent a garden barrow of water to the outbreak which was used to cool the heated railway metals after the burning hut had collapsed. The cause of the outbreak remains a mystery. Our correspondent interviewed the foreman who stated the hut was in perfect condition and securely locked when the men ceased work on Saturday at one o’clock. The foreman’s duties took him past the hut again at 8am on Sunday, when nothing unusual was noticed. A large crowd gathered at the fence to watch the fire, as the railway passes quite close to the village at this particular spot. PC Waite was also in attendance.

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