The big fire of April 15, 1898

The water system had not been built by April 15, 1898, when fire destroyed the centre part of the Town. The bell of the Methodist Church, now the United Church, awakened people at 3a.m. The Sutton Lumber Co. mill on Maple Street was ablaze. Bucket brigades were formed and the fire was extinguished with water from the nearby Sutton River. The mill was a total loss. Around 7 AM, the fire bell sounded again. This time Dr. MacDonald's barn at the corner of Maple and Pleasant streets, where the Auberge St. Amour now stands, was on fire. The barn was full of hay and burned briskly. Wind spread the fire towards Main Street, sparing the Methodist (United) and Baptist Churches, which are among the most handsome older buildings in Sutton. The Catholic and Anglican churches were out of harm's way to the north and south of the railway tracks respectively. The fire consumed 35 buildings in the centre of town, including the hotel and the railway station, before it was put out with help from Knowlton, Farnham, St. Johns, now St-Jean sur Richelieu, and Richford, Vt. As a result of the fire, both the Sutton water works and the Volunteer fire department were created when bylaw 6 was passed by the Town council on May 23, 1898. Fire service was extended into the rural areas beyond the reach of the water system in 1938, after the purchase of a pumper truck which is housed today in the Heritage Sutton museum. This marked the start of cooperation between the Town and the Township in the management and financing of the fire service.

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