Major Fire in Tignish, 1896

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Examiner excerpt submitted by Christine Gorman, and the L'Impartial excerpt by Janette Fraser -

From the Daily Examiner, August 31, 1896:




(By telephone to THE EXAMINER)

A disastrous fire broke out in Tignish yesterday afternoon and the principal portion of Tignish is burned to the ground. The buildings destroyed include J. H. Meyrick & Co.'s store and warehouse, Dalton's drug store, dwelling house and warehouse, the post office, Mr. Hackett's residence and outbuildings, Mr. Brennan's store, dwelling house, warehouse and outbuildings, Mr. McLellan's residence, store and outbuildings, Mr. Chaisson's lot of fine buildings, Mrs. Weeks' residence, McKenna's hotel, Bernard's hotel and warehouse, the railway round house, coal shed and agent's dwelling, four cars and one engine, and about a dozen other cheap buildings. The loss is about sixty thousand and the insurance is about thirty-two thousand.


One of the worst fires that ever visited this County started here at 2:30 p.m. yesterday. It was caused by a little girl, daughter of Peter Kinch [later denied] who ignited it from shavings in her father's carriage factory. A strong south-west wind was blowing, which rapidly bore the flames around the business part of the village. In a short time, the large Chaisson block was enveloped in the flames. Almost simultaneously the residence of Dr. Murphy was on fire. The flames spread at an alarming rate, until every business place and many residences were consumed. Messrs. Myrick and Company's store and buildings were cleaned out as well as the station agent's residence, the round house an engine and a number of cars. So quickly did the fire spread that they had no time to get steam on the engine to haul the cars out; but one was saved by pushing it out by hand. It was only about three hours from the time the fire started until the village was almost completely wiped out.

There were seventy buildings burned and fourteen families left homeless.

The following are the names of the losers:
Patrick Kinch, carriage factory, residence and outbuilding.
I. S. Chaisson, residence, store, and two warehouses.
Dr. Murphy's residence, outbuildings and nearly all his house furnishings and wearing apparel.
A. J. Bernard, store and contents.
John Carter, dwelling house and outbuildings occupied by Theodore Bernard as an hotel.
Patrick Hogan's premises, occupied by the Misses McKenna as an hotel.
The entire Myrick block and most of their goods.
Ed. Hackett, M. P., residence and outbuildings.
John J. McLellan, residence, store and contents, books and some money.
J. Albert Brennan, residence, store and outbuildings.
Mrs. Weeks, residence and outbuildings.
Wm. Carruthers, carriage factory and contents.
John Walsh, residence and outbuildings.
Joseph Richards, residence and outbuildings.
Also the post office.
A number of people lost furniture, etc, who occupied rented houses.

Most of the town people were from home when the fire started. Dr. Murphy watched his place burning down from some distance in the country where he was on a professional visit and could not leave. With great effort the Perry residence was saved. Everything about Tignish today is in gloom.

A relief committee is organized for the purpose of coming to the aid of the poor people who suffered by the late fire. Any contributions will be thankfully received by the parish.

L'IMPARTIAL, Tignish, PEI September 3, 1896 - page 3, col. 1

The village of Tignish was almost wiped out by fire last Sunday afternoon. The fire started in Mr. Peter Kinch's carriage shop about half past one o'clock and in about three hours the whole place was in ruins. The wind was blowing briskly from the southwest - just at the point to do the greatest amount of damage. The whole village was like a tinder-box and the flames quickly sprang from roof to roof until in the short space of about three hours the whole village was a blackened ruin, 62 buildings in all having been burned and fourteen families rendered homeless. There were no fire appliances in the place and although an attempt was make to use buckets of water it was soon found, save in isolated cases, a useless proceeding. The loss is estimated to be about $125,000 and the insurance is about $35,000. Many of the smaller premises were entirely uninsured, while a number of families lived in rented house and lost their all.

Besides the round house the station-master's house was burned, although the station house escaped. Following is a list of the loses. Peter Kinch, factory, residence and outbuildings; 1. S. Chaisson, residence store, two warehouses, etc; Dr. Murphy's residence and buildings and nearly all his house furnishing's and wearing apparel; A.J. Bernard's store and contents; John Carter's house and house building's occupied by Theodore Bernard as an hotel; Patrick Hogan's premises occupied by the Misses McKenna as an hotel; The entire Myrick block, and most of their goods; Chas. Dalton, two stores, three dwellings and warehouse, Edward Hackett, M.P, residence and outbuildings; John J. McLellan, residence, store and contents, books and some money; J. Albert Brennan, residence, store and outbuildings; Mrs. Week's residence and outbuildings; Wm. Carruthers, carriage factory and contents; John Walsh, residence and outbuildings; J.E. Richard, barn. The post office was also burned. By strenuous exertions the Perry house, which stood just across from Dalton's was saved. Mr. Duncan Shaw, of Summerside, had a large two-story warehouse and a barn burned. To the north of these were the L'IMPARTIAL buildings, which were saved. A relief committee has been organized for the purpose of aiding the poor people who suffered by the fire.

A meeting took place Wednesday evening, sept. 2nd, in St. Mary's Hall, when the following committee was organized: Rev. D. McDonald, Pres and Tres., F.J. Buote, Sec'y S.F. Perry Esq, J. Doiron M.D., J. W. Green, P. Kennedy and John Hackett committee.

The Railway buildings are to be built up at once. J.A. Brennan has a large force clearing the foundation for a large building. Dr. Doiron, Dr. Murphy, J.A. Bernard are making preparations to build at once. J.J. McLellan has also his lumber on the spot for a store and dwelling.

This office suffered to the extent of $350 in damaged material, Types lost etc. We will make an effort to have a regular issue but much smaller than usual, until we get a complete dress.

The above is the English portion of the item on the Tignish fire, which I have attempted to type just as it appeared. I do not have the article which appeared in French, but seem to recall the content was about the same, although it is some years since I have read it. Janette Fraser

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