Mexborough and Swinton Times March 7, 1908
Outbreak Of Fire At Denaby,
Fire Brigade’s ” Soft Job.”
Shortly after 8 o’clock on Wednesday evening, an outbreak of fire took place at the Powder Mills Denaby, owned by the British and Colonial Supply Association.
The fire had started from a cause at present unknown, taken hold rapidly and apparently without attracting much attention, until at last a great burst of flame shot up into the air, lighting up the sky for miles around.
The centre of the outbreak was the building used by the female factory and for dressing and dining, which is built entirely of wood and corrugated iron.
The fire was quickly noticed at Mexborough by a party of pressmen and Fireman C Bacon, who was near at hand, with commendable smartness, busied himself with preparation of the steamer fire engine for service.
An undue delay was, unfortunately, caused by the tardiness of a call from Denaby, and in the meantime the aforesaid Pressmen had taken to one of the old-fashioned and -much-maligned wagonettes, which proceeded along Church street at a merry pace, and actually beat the fire-engine by something like three minutes.
Arrived on the scene, the brigade found that there was little real danger. The mess room was practically burnt out; and the tottering, shrivelled walls of corrugated iron, which trembled around the mass of molten debris in the centre, resembled, as a sporting scribe put it, a badly shuffled pack of cards.
The place looked like a vividly painted marquee after a February gale.
Superintendent G.F.Carter station is men around the burning building, and in the vicinity of the surrounding buildings. To the wisdom of a prophetic architect, Ari foreseen government, the buildings which go to make up the factory are scattered, and there was some 30 or 40 yards on grass plot between the dressing rooms and the officers.
The nearest powder store was a quarter-mile away, so that there was no danger whatsoever.
Although the “Alderman,” which did such violence to the Church fire at Mexborough three weeks ago, was nearby and in readiness, it was not used at all nor was the standpipe called into requisition. An hour after the arrival of the brigade on the scene what little danger there had been was reduced to nil, and the fire burnt itself out naturally before midnight. The estimated cost of reconstructing the building is between £100 and £150 and this amount is covered by insurance.
The factory, which was the victim of a similar outbreak some three years ago, he devoted to the manufacture of an explosive turn “Westphalite,” the invention of a clever German expert. Doctor Bielefet, the patent of which is held by the owners of the factory. It is used for blasting coal and rock, and has thrice the strength of ordinary gunpowder.
Although highly dangerous in the presence of gas, it is known to be much more for efficacious in the mines then gunpowder.
The factory, the buildings of which are necessary scattered, covers an area of 25 acres, and all-around are firefighting appliances. The weather was on the side of the owners of the factory and the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, for the night was perfectly still.
So, with no wind to disturb it the bonfire crackled itself into ultimate silence