1951 Christmas Day fire which destroyed Kirkcaldy furniture repository

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Christmas Day 1951 saw a spectacular fire in Kirkcaldy.

It caused £50,000 of damage to Matthew Spears & Co, furniture repository in Links Street.

The blaze was discovered by David Taylor of Wilson Avenue, who was a store foreman.

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He and four assistants were working at the repository at the time, some of them in the attic, when they could smell smoke.

The 1951 fire at Spears furniture repository (Pic: Fife Free Press)The 1951 fire at Spears furniture repository (Pic: Fife Free Press)
The 1951 fire at Spears furniture repository (Pic: Fife Free Press)

He summoned Kirkcaldy Fire Service while his colleagues fought the situation with fire buckets.

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The fire resulted in some local residents being evacuated, including 70-year old blind woman, Mrs Cecilia Wood who was assisted t a neighbour’s house.

Firemen arrived within minutes, with Firemaster W.H. Moore taking control.

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Fife Free P:reszs headline on the 1951 blazeFife Free P:reszs headline on the 1951 blaze
Fife Free P:reszs headline on the 1951 blaze

Three tenders came from Kirkcaldy with support from Burntisland, Dunfermline and Methil.

The Fife Free Press reported: “From every point of access, firemen tackled the blaze while at the rear of the premises, bordering close to the Raith Cinema, they went to work on the roof.”

They succeeded in containing the outbreak, but, fanned by a stiff breeze, the billowing plumes of snooker rose into the air about 30-40 feet upwards.

Flying embers swirled into nearby street, and crowds of people watched from surrounding vantage points

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The fire lasted three to four hours and completely destroyed the repository - only part of the saleroom escaped any damage.

It was the second big fire that month.

Earlier, a blaze destroyed the Burma Ballroom, and a family living above the complex, which also housed the Trocadero Cafe and Viewforth Hotel, were evacuated as their home was lost in the flames.

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