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Firemen fight the Brown St blaze. Photo: SUPPLIED

Firefighting footballers fight Brown St fire

As part of a Valley Profile series, MEGHAN HAWKES searches through old newspapers to bring you the stories Thames Valley locals once read about themselves.
Footballers abandoned their game – Thames v Mercury Bay in the Binch Cup match – when a dense pall of smoke indicated that a fire had broken out.
The Thames line umpire and several players deserted their posts and hurriedly became members of the fire brigade as they dashed to the fire. A two-storey block of unoccupied shops in Brown St was ablaze. The football firemen had an arduous task owing to the choking smoke and lack of wind, however they helped the brigade save a block containing the Lady Bowen Hotel and a number of houses and shops – the biggest block of wooden buildings in Thames. The building contained ten rooms and had two shop frontages, neither of which had had a tenant for many years.
Fire also completely destroyed the Hikutaia School in an early morning blaze. A railway worker saw the flames reflection but thought it was rubbish burning. On realising it was the school he ran a quarter of a mile and gave the alarm rousing schoolmaster, Mr Turner, who lived next door. As there was no water supply, the place was completely destroyed. This was the second fire in the township that week – Mr Rehm’s house and grocery were burnt two days before. The unfortunate Rehm family was staying at Mr Turner’s, and their car, which was parked alongside the school, was also destroyed. The cause of the school fire was a mystery, as there were neither fires nor lights in the school the day before. Hikutaia residents were much perturbed at the two fires occurring so close together. 

Meanwhile, when a youthful motorcyclist from Huntly attempted to round a sharp corner on the Thames Coast Rd at Western Springs speed he finished up in the tide, a wetter and a wiser man. Another motorist who omitted to put oil in before attempting the Tapu-Coroglen Hill blew a cylinder head and spent the night on the road.
Damage estimated at more than one hundred pounds was done when a car driven by a Puriri farmer ran into the shop front of Say’s butchery, in Seddon St, Waihī. The man, who did not know the road, relied on his daughter to tell him when to turn to go to Waihī Beach.
It appeared that she told him too late, and the car crashed into the shop in attempting to negotiate the corner. Two plate-glass windows were broken and the shop front was shifted about three inches. The car was slightly damaged.
At Paeroa, the opening of the rest room building was accompanied by much fanfare.
Mr Marshall, Mayor, said the day marked the completion of another community effort. He trusted that it was a day of pleasure to everyone present, and that the pleasure would be a lasting one.
The only criticism that he had heard concerning the building was that it was too good. He hoped that the ladies of the district would make themselves quite at home in the building. The rest room had been a long time in coming, for it was many years ago that he had first heard of the necessity for it.