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The Dawson Creek Post Office Fire, 1942



An Explorer's Guide to Dawson Creek, British Columbia


Edmonton Journal, Wednesday, November 25, 1942

Dawson Creek P.O., Warehouse Burned, 1942

(Special to The Journal)

    DAWSON CREEK, Nov. 25. - The Post office and a warehouse owned by W. O. Harper, storekeeper, were destroyed by fire which broke out at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.

    Residents and US. engineer troops battled the blaze along with members of the volunteer fire department. The post office was a one-storey frame building. The store warehouse adjoined it. Both buildings were more than a block from the N.AR. station in the central section of the town.

    Quantities of mail were damaged in the blaze along with articles in storage in the warehouse.




Edmonton Journal, Thursday, November 26, 1942

Dawson Creek Fire Loss Set at $2,000

(Special to The Journal)

    DAWSON CREEK, Nov. 26 - Damage in Wednesday's fire, which destroyed the post office and part of the W. O. Harper warehouse, was estimated Thursday at $2,000. A small amount of mail was lost.

    Dawson Creek is about 500 miles northwest of Edmonton.

    Starting about 5:30 a.m. in the ceiling of the post office, the fire spread rapidly to the living quarters of Mrs. E J. Ryan, at the rear of the building. Postmaster A. W. Sharp was dispatching mail when the fire broke out. He aroused Mrs. Ryan and helped to save many of her belongings. He threw out sacks of outgoing mail, which were picked up by the Fort St. John mail driver. The driver then sounded the fire alarm.

    Mr. Sharp made several trips into the building to save general delivery letters and registered mail and packages. Box-holders' mail had been cleared Tuesday night. The maii loss was mostly in parcels and papers.

    At 6:00 a.m., men from the Campbell Construction company, north of the town, arrived at the fire. They formed a life-line chain and were instrumental in saving most of the contents of W.O. Harper's warehouse. The warehouse contents, including many cases of paint, were passed from man to man uniil they were out of the danger zone.

    Men of the United States Army engineers assisted in preventing the fire from spreading by pulling down a new restaurant building next to the post office. Two residents said if the new building had caught fire, several other business places would have been destroyed.

Men Were Stranded

    The firefighters used water and chemicals to douse the flames and protect adjoining buildings. Several of the firefighters missed the train for Edmonton about 7:00 am. It was not until the train had left that they realized they were stranded. The post office was burned to the ground.

    Temporary quarters are being set up in the Legion hall. The U.S. engineers agreed to allow a hut to be erected on the new post office site, opposite the police station, for use until permanent arrangements can be made. The post office staff was working Thursday.

    Two tanks of water were hauled from Pouce Coupe river, eight miles from the town, to help fight the fire.




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