• Belfast Between The Wars

THRILLS AT BELFAST FIRE: PEOPLE RUSHED FROM HOUSES, TERRIFIED HORSES

Belfast News-Letter, Monday 21st December 1936


Residents of Servia Street, off Albert Street, Belfast, were rushed from their houses in the early hours of yesterday morning during a serious fire which broke out in an adjoining building where fourteen horses were stabled.


The outbreak, which destroyed £150 worth of band instruments and uniforms in a room over the stables, was fanned by a strong wind and in a short time the flames were lapping the walls of the neighbouring dwellings from which the police ushered tenants to safety, while the work of rescuing the terrified horses was carried on under most trying conditions.


The alarm was raised at 4-50 a.m. by a man named Adams, of Verner Street, and Head-Constable Rice and Constables Gregg and Baxter were quickly on the scene to assist the many volunteers in removing the entrapped animals. Dense smoke added to the difficulties and when the gateway leading to the stables was forced open two carts were found blocking the passage.


ANIMALS PANIC-STRICKEN


Flying sparks and crackling timbers terrified the horses, which were reached when the brigade arrived, and no time was lost in leading the animals from the danger zone.


The brigade succeeded in preventing the outbreak affecting the houses nearby and managed to save the lower portion of the affected premises, the upper portion of which was completely gutted. An egg store nearby suffered some slight damage. The horses which were all removed without mishap, belonged to Hughes Brothers, a local firm of hauliers.


To find out more about the various roles horses played in people's lives in the past click here.


View images of the Fire Brigade on National Museums NI's website.