The Packet & Times
April 24, 1959
While firemen and residents fought to protect other buildings, the 35 year-old Rathburn General Store and Post Office burned to the ground yesterday noon hour.
The Brechin volunteer fire brigade was unable to do anything to save the Mara landmark which went up “like a box of matches.” There is still no estimate of damage, but only a pop cooler and a few pieces of furniture were saved from the building which was the home of Mr. & Mrs. Robert Lambe, and elderly couple who have owned it for the past 22 years.
All of their belongings and the store merchandise were destroyed. The fire broke out shortly before noon yesterday. Mr. Lambe had started a fire to burn rubbish and grass behind the building and while he was having dinner, the fire spread to a nearby garage.
It quickly ignited the board and tarpaper wall of the store. Brechin firemen were immediately notified and arrived shortly, but all efforts in the meantime to keep the blaze confined were of no avail.
With wells the only available water supply in the area, the firemen could do little but stop the flames from spreading to nearby buildings. They quelled a minor fire which had broken out in a nearby driving shed and poured water on an adjoining barn.
The store itself soon collapsed and the heat generated from the flames set fire to trees and telephone and hydro poles. The power was cut off briefly when the wires were burned.
Throughout the fire, canned goods in the store could be heard exploding.
Mr. Lambe, who will be 85 this month, and Mrs. Lambe, 74 in June, are staying at the home of Mr. Lambe’s son, Francis, on a nearby concession.
The store itself was erected about 1924 by Dan Mulvihill, a former Reeve of Mara.