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Wilson Museum Bulletin Fall 2001, Vol. 4, No. 21
Hector Engine Company No. 3   |  “The Castine Conflagration“  |  Curator's Report


The Castine Conflagration

James Webster, November 1872


One day the wind severe did blow,
The ground was covered thick with snow,
And fire bells were loudly rung -
Which started people on the run.

To the scene of conflagration -
Which filled all with consternation.
The fancy church it was on fire!
And all were breathless to get nigher.

The “Three” was promptly on the spot;
The fire and smoke they heeded not.
The “squirrel tail” though, strange to tell,
Was Quickly thrust into the well!

The hose screwed on some joints or more,
Was boldly making for the door -
The famous “Bridges” seized the nozzle
And on the fire began to dozzle!

A little, puny liquid stream,
All, which was plainly to be seen,
They never could put out the fire,
For still the flames were rising higher.

Most manfully he stood the test
And like a hero did his best;
But human nature cannot stand
What is beyond the power of man.

Then “Davies” did most loudly shout:
“You cannot put the fire out,
I'll tell you boys what we must do;
Now quickly get the ‘Number Two.’”

The “Two,” as if by slight of hand,
Was quickly there and strongly manned.
The wind did blow, the smoke it flew,
And all was right to put her through.

Then came up dear brother “Surry;”
Says: “Now boys be in a hurry.
Man the hose, the walls go through
And show the ‘Three’ what we can do.”

Most desperately they worked the “Two,”
The hosemen had all they could do.
Flooded on streams of water,
Drove the fire from every quarter.

The fire was most subdued;
The inside had to be reviewed,
To see if all the fire was out -
As firemen know what they're about.

Our Deacon “Hale,” quite out of breath,
Without the slightest fear of death,
Down in the vestry fiercely goes;
The ceiling fell and skinned his nose.

Colonel “Tilden” was there before -
The debris jammed him on the floor,
And then most lustily he cried,
To pull him out before he died!

And Mr. “Dow” was standing near,
His stifled cries did faintly hear.
By feeling round he found him there,
Then dragged him out into the air!

Mr. “Noyes” deserves some mention
For his brave and good attention,
And the counsels he imparted
To the faint and chickenhearted!

The ladies, too, with open hearts,
Like angels, well they did their part,
With outstretched arms, refreshments free
For all the men of “Number Three.”

Some jealousies then did arise.
About the cakes and nice mince pies -
The “two's” men would not rob the “Three.”
So acquiesced most gallantly.

The qualities here did preside
On this occasion, in their pride,
With kid-gloved hands and moustached face!
They bowed and smiled with charming grace.

And said the commons have done well
To save the church and steeple bell -
Which would ring, in years to come,
For what the old tub “Two” had done.

So now my story is all told,
A hundred thousand copies sold!
To spread the news o’er all the nation
How - WE - stopped the conflagration.

Hector Engine Company No. 3   |  “The Castine Conflagration“  |  Curator's Report

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