Quest in Roots:
Brookdale Manitoba History

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Fire ofunknown origin destroyed W.S. Byram''s general store which also contained the post office, on Sunday morning September 28, 1930.

The fire was first noticed about seven o''clock by Jack Kenney who lived next door to the east.

Seeing the smoke, he rushed over to awaken Bill who resided above the store. Bill managed to escape unharmed.

Tommy Dennis, a lad of 15 or 16, grabbed the cash register and carried it out. Normally, he couldn''t lift it. Some of the store merchandise was saved. The oilshed on the west side of the store was emptied of oil and gas barrels, etc. and then tipped over on its side away from the heat of the fire. One side of the shed was scorched a little in places.

The Kenneys removed their furniture and belongings from their house in case the fire spread.

Jack Kenney was the elevator man at that time and had the elevator safe with money in it. After the excitement had died down, there was the neat pile of money sitting on top of the buffet. The street or road in front of the store was lined with furniture, barrels, store goods, etc.

In those days whenever there was a fire in the district, the telephone operator would buzz long continuous rings to warn people that there was a fire somewhere nearby. In spite of the fire being in the early morning, people rushed to the scene to give their assistance. Wm. Owen and his wife were heading to the fire and overturned their car into a ditch containing water - no one was hurt.

Bill set up the post office and a tiny store in a room in the Kenney house. By the end of October with volunteer help the cement foundation was completed ready for the building of a new store.

Once the floor was laid, a dance was held in the store about mid-November.


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