Back to 1923: 60 years ago, the City lumber yards covered most of the area east of Merivale Road between Carling and Shillington Avenues. Fire was a constant threat, as the following story reveals.
“Families Homeless When Dinner Burns/J. R. Booth Lumber Yards Are Threatened” stated a headline in the Ottawa Journal on 4 June 1923.
“Two families were rendered homeless by a fire which destroyed their cottages on Shillington Avenue, Bellevue, yesterday noon as a result of the Sunday dinner catching fire while being cooked in the home of Mr. and Mrs. J. Boileau. The flames spread so quickly that it was practically impossible to save anything in the Boileau cottage. The adjoining cottage, owned by Mr. J. Miron, was also burned to the ground with only a few of the family belongings saved. The J. R. Booth Co. Ltd. City View lumber yards, only 50 feet away, were in great danger but were saved by the concerted action of the city firemen, the Westboro volunteer fire brigade and the employees of the Booth yards.”
“The Miron family, consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Miron and their four young children, were the worst sufferers. Their home and furniture, valued at $1200, was uninsured and was a total loss. Mr. and Mrs. J. Boileau, an aged couple, were more fortunate as they carried $1300 insurance on their house and contents. The total estimated loss for both houses is $2700.”
“With the flames shooting high in the air and burning embers flying over the Booth lumber yards, much fear was entertained for the large piles of lumber. Fire Chief R. Burnetts personally supervised the fighting of the fire, assisted by firemen from No. 2 and 11 fire stations. The volunteer fire brigade from Westboro, under chief J. Kenny, also rendered valuable assistance.”
[Editors note: This story originally appeared in the June 1983 edition of the Carlington Summit and was retyped and submitted by David Darwin.]