James Methodist Church Destroyed by Fire
A fire of mysterious
origin broke out about 8 o'clock Saturday evening in St. James'
Methodist Church, and in a short time had destroyed the whole
interior of the church proper, only the walls and some of the
charred portions of the roof being left.
The fire wall and the
efforts of the fire brigade, however, prevented the spread of the
flames to the Sunday School annex, which is the finest and best
equipped in the district.
The fact that the evening
was windless and calm contributed much to the comparatively speedy
control of the fire, and at no time were the surrounding buildings
The blaze started in the
organ, and when the clouds of smoke attracted attention, it had
gained considerable headway, and shortly afterwards several
windows fell out with a burst of flame.
The cause is absolutely a
mystery. The switch box was locked, and only one light in the side
entrance of the building has a separate circuit, and this was not
close to the starting place. There was no fire in the gas
furnaces, and at 6.15 the caretaker left the place with everything
apparently all right The officials of the church are at a loss to
account for the origin.
Considerable expense had
been put on the building of recent years. The fine organ had been
much improved, the choir loft refitted, decorating done, and only
four weeks ago a beautiful memorial window to the members of the
church who fell in the Great War was unveiled.
The church property,
valued at nearly $60,000, was only partially insured. The previous
church was destroyed by fire in 1896.
An insurance adjuster was
in town Tuesday and estimated the loss on the church building at
$24,000, the insurance being only $20,000. The organ, which cost
about $3,500 when installed, would cost about $8,000 to replace
today. Insurance allowed, $2,000.
The Board of Management
intends to re-build as soon as possible. The services for the time
being will be held in the school room.