ST. MARYS FIRE ENQUIRY
At St. Marys on Thursday the coroner (Mr. L E. Ransom) held an enquiry concerning a fire which. orcurred at Cornwall on March 15, when a, house and contents, the property of
Charles Williams, were totally destroyed. Detective T. G. Blurke conducted proceedings on behalf of the police. Mr. S. F. Evans appeared for the owner of the property.
Stephen Targett it evidence stated that on the night of the fire, at about 0.30 o'clock, he heard sounds of bumping outside. The noise seemed to come from the direction of Williams' house. He went outside, and saw the front portion of the house ablaze. He borrowed a hose from his neighbour, but it was too late to
check the fire. Witness stated that on a previous occasion, when the WilIliams family was absent, he saw a light in the house, and the dogs were barking. He went over to Investigate, and hearing suspicious sounds in the scrub nearby went to the billiard saloon and got Jack Margison to accompany him to the house. By this time the light had gone. With two other men, they made a circuit of the
place, but could find nothing to arouse
suspicion. Witness had never beard anyone threatening any harm to Williams.
Edgar Frederick Tapp said be went to the home of Williams on the night mentioned about 7.30 o'clock, and stayed for a while, in company with Mr. and Mrs. Williams. the children, and Andrew Mulholland. They all left the house at 8 o'clock. Williams left the party with the intention of going to the blliard saloon. Mrs. Williams and the children were going to the residence of Mr. Ralph Strochnetter, and witness and Mulholland went to their homes. About 10 p.m. he heard shouts, and went to the scene of the fire. Previously he heard rumours that there were three houses
to he burned in Cornwall, - Including Williams'.
Charles Williams, a miner, owner, of the house, which was of weather board with wood lining, said that the building was insured with the London, Liverpool, and Globe Insurance Company for £125. and the furniture for £75. . On March 15 witness left
the house about 8 p.m; with his wife and family and two youths. He locked the back and front doors. He accompanied the party a short distance, and then went to the billiard saloon,
where he remained for about half an hour. From there be went to join the other members of the family at a Mr. Strochnetter's. While seated with the party be heard people shouting in the street, and his daughter. looking
through a window, said that their house was on fire. He rushed to the scene, but it was too late to save any thing. Witness did not think that a
small coal fire left burning in the grate would cause the fire. A probinable cause would be the electrical fittings, or perhaps the house had been maliciously set alight for some reason unknown to him. He could not account for the presence of a petrol or kerosene among the debris as there was no inflammable liquid of the kind stored on the premises. He admitted having had a small quantity of exploslive in the house, but not enough to be a source of danger. He gave evidence similar to that of a
previous witness concerning an occasion a few days before. when the house had been broken into, but no thing was taken.
Edwin Georic Nicholson. proprietor
of the billiard saloon, gave evidence concerning the time and duration of Williams' visit to the room.
Mrs. Elsie May Williams, Richard Scott. Lindsay Haas, Ralph Arthur Strochnetter, and Sergeant A. R. Cooper were other witnesses.
The coroner gave a verdict to the effect that the house had been set on fire by some person or persons unknown.