Collision LogoThe Collision
• Part III - A cascade of sparks, benzol, fire!

Mont-Blanc Crew Row for Shore

As the Mont-Blanc drifted toward the Halifax shore, the crew lowered lifeboats from the stern and rowed for their lives for the Dartmouth shore. As they came ashore the French sailors tried desperately to tell onlookers to run from the danger. Unable to understand the sailors' French, the onlookers remained. Captain Le Medec, Francis Mackey and the crew of thirty-nine took refuge in the woods at Tufts Cove.

Back on the Halifax shore, general-store owner, Constant Upham ran to his phone. In minutes fire bells rang out. From the Isleville Station came the hose wagon, from the Quinpool Road station the chemical engine. Racing down Barrington Street, came a new motorized fire truck, the "Patricia", built to combat chemical fires.

At Richmond Station, Train Dispatcher, Vincent Coleman tapped out a message to the in-coming train from Truro, "Munitions ship on fire, making for Pier 6. Good bye."

The Mont-Blanc pushed toward Pier 6 where the schooner St. Bernard stood unloading lumber. As the Mont-Blanc edged forward, the deck fire set Pier 6 alight. By now the crew of the Stella Maris had anchored the scows and returned to offer help. The Mont-Blanc grounded at the foot of Richmond Street, in the center of the Richmond district, the busy, industrial north end of Halifax. Fire had spread to the number one hold.

At the foot of Richmond the air was filled with the sound of bursting flames, billowing smoke, explosions, fire bells, and crowd reactions all around... and then a momentary silence...

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