Old St. Andrews



Fire in the Custom House



St. Andrews Standard, Feb 14, 1849
Alarms of Fire
On Monday night, about 11 o'clock, the cry of "fire" resounded through our streets, accompanied by the ringing of the Church bell, which could scarcely be heard, owing to a strong north east wind which was blowing, filling the air with drifting snow. The fire was discovered issuing from an unoccupied front room in the building known and used as the Custom House, owned by Messrs. John and Nathan Treadwell. Notwithstanding the extreme coldness of the weather, a large number of our inhabitants turned out and proceeded to the spot, and after forcing the front door, on entering the room formerly used by the Landing Surveyor, found flames issuing from the corner of the room in a perpendicular line to the roof. After very considerable exertions on the part of our townsmen, having exhausted the supply of water in the adjacent wells, the flames were extinguished, not however without doing considerable damage to the rooms and roof. The fire is said to have originated from the carelessness of the person employed in making the fires, who left hot ashes in a wooden scuttle, used for that purpose, in an unoccupied room. Such carelessness cannot be too severely censured, and should be a warning to others. Had the flames made greater progress before being discovered, no human exertions cold have saved the building; nor indeed the whole range of houses to the Market Wharf. Our enterprising townsmen, the Messrs. Treadwell, would have been deprived of the fruits of several years hard toil, and many who now enjoy comfortable homes been driven houseless and penniless on the cold charities of the world at this inclement season. We are authorized to state by Messrs. J. and N. Treadwell, that they exonerate the Officers of the Customs from all blame.