Storage Building Destroyed, With Contents
June 7, 1917
There was a spectacular fire at Longford Mills last Thursday morning, when the storage building of the Standard Chemical Company’s plant, a corrugated iron structure 100 X 45 feet, was destroyed, together with 88 drums of acetone, 80 barrels, and 560 empty steel drums, the motor house and motor. The total loss was between $40,000 and $50,000.
The drums and barrels, even when empty, exploded, making a noise like an artillery bombardment. Many of them went high into the air, and some of the fragments set fire to the railway station, and the Presbyterian Church, 400 yards away. A hole was burned in the roof of the station, and the belfry of the church was destroyed, but the flames were extinguished before further damage was done. Notwithstanding the danger, the fire brigade, assisted by some fireman from Orillia, fought the fire hard at close quarters, and some succeeded in preventing its spread to the main buildings.
Part of the acetone was in a car which had been loaded that morning, and which was entirely destroyed. When the electrical pumping plant continued to supply water to fight the flames. It is fortunate that the whole plant was not destroyed as acetone is an important munitions product