Fredericks, Edward

Time of service: Unknown - Unknown

LODD: April 14, 1878

Associated company: Union Protection Company

Lieutenant Edward Fredericks
Badge # (Union Protection Company)
____- April 14,1878
Article from the Halifax Morning Chronicle newspaper
Yesterday morning a fire broke out in a building in Barrington Street extension which turned out to be one of the most disastrous that has occurred in this city for some years.
About ten minutes past three, policeman William Keating left the police station and proceeded along Barrington Street north towards his beat. At the corner of Cornwallis Street he met policeman M.Sullivan and stood talking to him for a minute or two, when they saw a sudden flash of light followed by a red glow, as from a fire, south of them. They ran in that direction and saw flames bursting from the roof of a large wooden building on Barrington occupied by Messrs. H.C, Evans & C., and commission merchants.
They sounded an alarm from box 35 in Hurd’s Lane.
 Keating then went to the burning building and bursting open the door found that the most of the fire seemed to be rising from the back part of the building among some barrels. Some of them were rolled out and were afterwards found to be barrels of kerosene.
The firemen responded to the alarm in a few minutes, but the upper part of the wooden building was one mass of flames, which had spread to a building back of it on Water Street, occupied by Mr. A Fordham as a leather finding store in the basement, and by a family name Purcell in the upper stores.
Through the latter building the fire spread so rapidly that though the Union Protection men worked well, very little of the stock could be saved. The stock in both buildings was of a very inflammable nature- one had butter, nuts, matches, brooms, kerosene, etc.,  and in the other were barrels of shoemaker’s wax, pegs, lasts, leather and other shoe finding material.
In fact a mass better fitted to make an immense bon fire could hardly begot together.
But the engine and axe men worked well and, having a plentiful supply of water, in a few minutes the effect of their work began to show and it seemed as if the whole fire would be extinguished in a very short time. Then a catastrophe occurred which entirely changed the aspect of affairs. The ladders had arrived and were about being erected against the front of the building when aloud explosion was heard; sparks and burning timbers were hurled in every direction, and the building was shaken to its foundation.
The flames now leaped from box to box through the building, their forked tongues licking up the inflammable material, and burst forth with redoubled fury, seeming to defy all human efforts to stay their progress. As the dense volume of black smoke, sparks and lurid flames shot upward the firemen’s task was indeed a server one.
But they never flinch; Appalled neither by the mysterious explosion nor its consequences they stand their ground, and the steady, incessant streams from branches held in strong, willing hands once more begins to tell on the burning building when another accident occurred, followed by consequences which will make it memorable for our firemen for many a day.
The explosion referred to, shook the building, as just stated, to its foundation but as it still appeared comparatively safe in the lower story, several of the Union Protection Company continued removing the office furniture, and two of them, Mr. William Howell and Mr. Edward Fredericks, were together in the office when the building was seen to sways, a cry of warning burst from the crowds, a loud crash was heard, and the two floors, loosened by the explosion. Fell through to the cellar, burying the two men in the ruins, while the shop front of the office ell out on to the sidewalk.
The walls of the building and the roof still remained, supported by the chimney, but looked as if they would fall at any moment, If the firemen had worked well before, they fairly surpassed themselves now. While some continued playing on the flames with the hose, others seized chains and grapnels and began clearing away the burning ruins. For it was not then know who were buried, as several were in the building but a moment before. Presently a faint cry rising from the smoking ruins proclaimed that at least one man live.
Then two firemen named William Tierney, a Lieutenant in No. 5 Division, and Edward Phelan, a Lieutenant of No 1 Division – whose heroic conduct through this eventful morning is deserving of a substantial recognition at the hands of the public – heedless of the danger, went down into the cellar under the ruins, and remained there working for hours, through the smokes was stifling and they were completely surrounded by fire at time. Once they were so long coming to the surface that it was thought they were suffocated, but suddenly a shout was hear and the dead body of young Fredericks was handed up. Sorrowfully his late comrades placed it on the wagon and carried it to the North End Protection Company’s Hall.
The body was not much bruised but the breast on one side was crushed in, and there was a gash on the forehead, supposed to have been caused by a heavy iron copying- press falling on him. From the nature of his injuries it is evident that he died instantly.
The work at the building continued. It was found that Mr. Howell was alive, and was held fast between the two floors, which had fallen together. Tierney, one of the men before referred to, with a saw and axe, cut a hole through the lower floor beneath, an extremely difficult task owing to the narrow space in which he had to work to say nothing of the danger.
Through this hole held communication with Howell and found him lying face down –wards, very weak but still sensible. He cleared the debris away to allow him to breathe more freely.
Other firemen were now working in the cellar, and the broken timber and rubbish were rapidly being cleared out, when the roof and walls fell still burning, but protected by the floor, those in the cellar fortunately escaped unhurt. Among them was Dr.Moren, the City Medical Officer, who had gone down with a drink of cordial to Howell. To be extricated; after having been jammed down on his face, and held in that position, in stifling smoke, with heavy beams on him, and alternately half drowned and half roasted for over three hours, he once more breathed the fresh air. A mighty shout burst from the attending crow as he was lifted to the surface and he was placed on the wagon and borne away. Cheer on cheer went up and strong men wept tears of joy…
Mr. Edward Fredericks, the man who was killed, was about 26 years old and was very well know as the proprietor of the Brunswick Street drug shop. He was a Lieutenant of the North-End branch of the Union Protection Company, with the members of whom he was very popular. He was unmarried, and lived with his mother, a widowed lady. The cause of death was listed as “Trauma from injuries sustaned from structure collapse”.
The cool manner in which the firemen worked under such adverse circumstances was highly creditable to them and caused much wonderment to the spectators. One of the axe men was on the roof of the brick building at work; the roof was expected to fall in every moment, but he continued as though there was no danger. A portion of the roof above him did fall in sending showers of burning embers all about. He stopped work for a moment, and coolly picked up one of the embers, lit a cigar with it and then resumed work.

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