1792 A Serious Blaze

Historical period: The Union Engine Company

• On Friday, August 17, 1792, seven buildings were destroyed by fire on Granville Street; it was described in terms that suggest the public viewed it as a major event. John Wellnor (Wellner) and his wife, an aged couple, lost their lives in the blaze. Below is the related newspaper article:

On Friday last, the 17th instant, about Midnight, the house of John Wellnor, in Granville Street, was discovered to be on Fire within — The Town was immediately alarmed, the inhabitants assembled, and the Engines of the Town, Ordinance, and Navy Yard, were collected and brought to the place, with as much expedition as could be effected at so dead a time of the night; and every possible exertion was made to extinguish it, but in vain — The flames encreased and communicated so rapidly to the houses on each side, that in a short space of time the scene became truly aweful, and baffled every effort that could be made, until Six Tenements, together with the Ordnance Laboratory, were consumed.


The lives lost on this melancholy occasion, were those of two aged and infirm, Leopold Wellnor and his wife, the Fire having so far encreased [sic], when it was discovered, that no means could be used for rescuing them from the flames.


The loss of property, to those who have suffered by the Fire, is very great, and their present distressed situation, loudly calls for the commiseration and assistance of the Public.


We should be wanting in our duty, not to mention, with the highest gratitude, the assiduity and vigorous actions of his Excellency, our worthy and beloved Governor, during the whole of this alarming and melancholy scene.


Our acknowledgements are likewise due to General OGILVIE; who, with his usual attention and benevolence, ordered out the Military, and directed [?] for the preservation of such property as might be rescued from the flames — and both the Officers and Soldiers, animated by the exertions of the General, displayed a Solicitude and Philanthropy for the preservation of the Town, which as Subjects and Fellow citizens, [brings?] honor to their humanity. The assistance derived from the Officers and others employed in his Majesty's Navy Yard demand particular notice, and we must acknowledge that to the judicious management of their engines, in aid of those belonging to the Town, the [flames?] were got under a time when the fire threatened the ruin of a large proportion of the Inhabitants (Nova Scotia Archives 1792, p. 3).


             A map of a neighborhoodDescription automatically generated

• This event was also corroborated in the meeting minutes of the Fire Engine Company, as the engine had to undergo maintenance after the fire. They referred to it as “Fire at Wellnor the Butcher” (Nova Scotia Archives 1789-1807). The Governor mentioned in the newspaper article was John Wentworth, who had an affinity for firefighting


Have more information?