It was intimated on Friday last by a supplement issued with the “Rushden Echo”, an alarming fire was on that day discovered in the school-room adjacent to the Park-road Wesleyan church, but through prompt action on the part of the Fire Brigade and willing helpers a disastrous conflagration was prevented.
It appears that Mrs.John Noble, wife of the chapel-keeper, who is unfortunately unable, as a result of an accident to attend to this duties, lit a fire in the cellar of the school-room at about 2.30, and it is surmised that other refuse accidently caught fire from some of that in the grate through the downdraught caused by the gale blowing at the time. Mrs.Noble left the building to go into the new church and on her return found the woodwork in the cellar had caught fire. She at once gave an alarm. In the meantime the outbreak had been noticed by a boy in the employ of Messrs. Cunnington Bros. The boy had been sent to the Post Office, but came back and informed Mr.T.Cunnington that the schoolroom was on fire. Mr.Cunnington at once ran down and found dense volumes of smoke issuing from the building.
On the alarm being given a number of men and women carried buckets of water from all the available supplies near the chapel, and did a good deal to keep down the flames.
The firemen were quickly in attendance with the hose cart, under Capt.F.Knight and soon had the hose fixed in position. The water supply was very short at first owing to the lowness of the water in the reservoir, but the supply was concentrated to the spot until the firemen got sufficient for the purpose. In the meantime chemical fire extinguishers had been brought in by the kindness of Messrs. Tailby and Putnam, Messrs. Cave and Sons, and the Co-operative Industrial Society, and did excellent work in stopping the outbreak. The floor of the schoolroom was burnt so that it will have to be renewed, but a new platform just erected escaped the flames. Fortunately the flames were prevented from spreading to the body of the schoolroom through the efforts of the Brigade and their helpers, and the outbreak was practically at an end by 5.30. Had it not been for the promptitude with which the fire was dealt with there is little doubt that not only would the schoolroom have been burnt down but the handsome new church just erected would have been involved in the disaster.
The damage is estimated at about £200, and is covered by insurance in the Methodist Insurance Company, Ltd.
While the fire was in progress, Inspector Dunn, Sergt.Judge, and several constables were in attendance and rendered valuable aid in keeping order.