Today in history: residents flee to streets after fire

ON THIS day (November 21) in Gladstone history

1947:

Twenty people had to live in the street last night following a fire which caused damage estimated at £30,000.

Tonight, accommodation had been found for all of them. The fire destroyed the Embassy Theatre, three shops and the Royal Hotel.

There were a number of lucky escapes from the blazing hotel. A last-minute search of the hotel by Mayor, Ald J O'Malley, saved the life of one boarder.

James Cant broke a small bone in his ankle and fractured a small bone in his leg when he jumped from the top storey after helping the fire brigade.

John Sellwood fell from the building and injured his shoulder when helping to fight the fire. Two people were treated for shock. In all 22 people were rendered homeless. They were all boarders at the hotel.

Firemen today said the block could have been saved if enough water had been available when the fire was first noticed. Bad luck has dogged the theatre proprietor, Mr Stan Clapham. He was burnt out in 1941 and lost everything.

A few days after he re-opened in 1942, a cyclone blew the rear wall and stage away.