A four-million-dollar fire all but wiped out the waterfront of Pictou, a Nova Scotia shipyard town July 6th.
A four-million-dollar fire all but wiped out the waterfront of Pictou, a Nova Scotia shipyard town July 6th. Wind-driven flames swept out of control along a half-mile stretch of piers and seawall for more than two hours. The fire was one of the worst in history of the province.
Pictou's economy is based mainly on shipbuilding. Destroyed are two government piers, a ferryboat, a freight shed, a federal mines department building, several small fishing boats, a barge, and three other buildings.
The fire started on a pier and a sheet of flame ignited the ferryboat. Seconds later, there was a violent explosion, and the vessel sank at her mooring. Three men were injured fighting the fire and so many pumps were at work that the town's water supply was taxed to the limit. Additional water was drawn from the harbour.
At the height of the blaze, there was an electrical failure. For a time, the town's business and residential areas were threatened. Several homes were set afire by flying sparks, but none destroyed, and for the most part the blaze was confined to the waterfront. The biggest blow to the town was the loss of berthing facilities at the height of the summer shipping season.
Official say that unless the piers are replaced almost immediately. Pictou's economy will be crippled. This is the second disaster to hit Nova Scotia's Northumberland Strait area in three weeks. At the other end of the Strait, thirty five men lost their lives when a fishing fleet sailed into a howling gale.