Fire in Captain Stewart's Home, 1829

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Submitted by Gary Carroll -

PEI Register 19 May, 1829

CALAMITOUS FIRE, ATTENDED WITH LOSS OF LIVES. - It is this week our painful duty to record a dreadful calamity which has plunged a respectable family in the deepest affliction. The house occupied by Captain Peter Stewart, R.A. was on Wednesday night, about half past eleven o'clock, discovered to be on fire. The family, consisting of females and children only (Captain Stewart having sailed for Halifax a few days previous), had not long retired to rest, when Mrs. Stewart was alarmed by the barking of a dog confined in the porch. On opening the door of her bed-chamber to ascertain the cause, she discovered flames issuing from the end of the passage which led to the back of the house. The alarm was instantly given to the servants and children, who slept upstairs. Some delay took place in opening the street door, in consequence of the handle of the lock having come off, and on getting out it was discovered that one of the children, Louisa, aged nine years, had been left behind. She was asleep in the upper part of the building, and the stair was in flames. Another of the children (Hugh, a fine boy, only twelve years of age) hearing that his sister was still in the house, rushed in to rescue her, when he was prevented by one of the neighbors. He made a second attempt, and was again prevented by the same person. The fearless boy, however, seems still to have persisted, and that, under the powerful impulse of affection for a favourite sister, he had got in unperceived, and perished. in the heroic attempt to save her, is the only way of accounting for his fate, as he was never seen afterwards. By this time a number of people had collected, but, as the upper part of the building was enveloped in flames, nothing could be done to save them. Thus perished those interesting children, under circumstances so peculiarly affecting. All hopes of extinguishing the flames being now over, the greatest exertions were made to save as much of the furniture as possible, and nearly every article of value in the lower part of the house was got out before the roof fell in. Fortunately, the house stood detached from any other buildiing, or the consequences might have been still more disastrous. On searching among the rubbish, a small portion of the body of one of the ill-fated victims was discovered, but not sufficient to discover its sex. An inquest was held upon it, and a verdict of "Accidental death" returned. No satisfactory account
can be given how the fire originated.

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