1958 Blaze Leaves 11 Palermo People Homeless Just Before Christmas
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- This newspaper clipping is not dated nor is the paper identified but, thanks to recent help from local history buffs via Facebook, it has been determined to likely be from the Oakville Record Star. Unfortunately, the Oakville Public Library doesn't have this newspaper for 1958 in their collection, and the rest of the newspaper article is not in a format that can be added to this record. Therefore, the text from the rest of the newspaper article has been retyped into the record for your further information - see below here.
Originally, the house had been built for the John Addison Smith family, foundry owners in Palermo, Ontario. Harvey and Ethel Smith raised their daughters, Erma Norine and Muriel Verna in this house. Harvey had been a beekeeper.
The property had been involved in a fire previously on December 16, 1943. That fire caused about $200 damage to the house. Click on the link, "Smith House, Palermo" for a photo of the Smith house with further information.
The devastating 1958 fire happened well after the Smith family had sold the property. After the sale, the house was divided into a duplex. In 1958, it was still a rural property on a well, which made fighting fire difficult.
After the 1958 fire, it was rebuilt as a brick house set back further from the road.
- PALERMO - Eleven persons were left homeless here yesterday when fire razed a two-storey frame duplex causing loss estimated at more than $15,000.
Two new Canadian families escaped uninjured but with only the clothes they were wearing when flames belived to have originated in a defective chimney destroyed the building.
HOMELESS ARE Antonius Cellen, 31, his wife Josephine, 28, and their children, Antoinette, eight, Henry, seven, Willi, six, Mary, four and Beverly two and Theodore Koppons, 27, his wife, Marta 28, and their children, Ricky, 16 moths, and Elizabeth, three.
The fire was discovered by Mrs. Ceelen when she went to the rear of her apartment. She noticed smoke and called her husband. Mr. Ceelen said he opened a doorway leading to the second floor and was "blasted with heat and flames."
He rushed his wife and the two youngest children from the buildiing and nnotified Mrs. Koppons who carried her two children to safety.
THE THREE OLDER Cellen children were attending a Christmas party at the Palermo Public School when the fire occured. Mr. Koppons was at work in Oakville.
Firemen from the Trafalgar Township Fire Brigade at Bronte fought the flames for more than five hours but were unable to save the building.
Trafalgar Police Chief, Fred Oliver and his department took immediate steps to provide the stricken family with clothing from surplus received in a police drive to aid needy township families.
CHIEF OLIVER SAID the surplus had been given to the Salvation Army, but ample clothing for immediate needs was delivered shortly after 6 p.m. last night.
Representatives of the Oakville Red Cross later offered assistance to both families.
Chief Oliver last night issued food, furniture and living accommodations.
BOTH MOTHERS said that all their children's Christmas presents had been lost in the fire.
The seven children were taken in and cared for by neighbors during the afternoon and early evening. Both families were given lodging last night by Mr. and Mrs. Gerry van der Hayden, of Palermo.
The two families arrived in Canada from Holland about five years ago, and have lived in the Palermo area for the past three years.
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- Trafalgar Township Historical society
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- 1958 Blaze Leaves 11 Palermo People Homeless Just Before Christmas
Trafalgar Township Historical Society
Trafalgar Township Historical Society Sponsor: Jeff Knoll, Local & Regional Councillor for Oakville Ward 5 – Town of Oakville/Regional Municipality of Halton