A significant fire erupted in Limerick on Wednesday, causing extensive damage to local properties and highlighting the issue of a defective water supply. The blaze began in Mr Peter Maguire’s business premises on New Street, where the fire from the engine driving the baler spread to two tons of hay. The fire department faced challenges due to low water pressure, and as a result, valuable machinery and several houses were destroyed.
Constables and other local authorities demonstrated courageous conduct in trying to manage the blaze, with officers cutting roofs and saving nearby properties, including the Post Office. Thanks to the quick thinking of District Inspector Doyle, a serious accident was averted when the engine’s battery was disconnected just as it was about to explode in the midst of the workers.
Although the Limerick Corporation Fire Brigade struggled with limited water supply, a water-cart provided by Major Whelan effectively controlled the fire by the evening. Some close calls occurred, but no injuries were reported. The total estimated loss from the fire is about £2,000. While the houses affected were insured, the bay was not. This incident highlights the urgent need to address the city’s water supply issues to prevent similar situations in the future.
Northants Evening Telegraph – Wednesday 09 January 1901