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Post 6. First Fire, January 18, 1845

This area was spared by the fire that destroyed much of the village of Saint-Luc in 1845.

Map of St-Luc

Here is the story of the disaster that struck Saint-Luc in 1845 : “It is winter, all the residents of Saint-Luc are in the village. There is snow, it seems, in normal amounts, since no document that year mentions snow. In the valley of the Rhone, however, the written press notes that unusual amounts of snow fell on the Simplon pass and on Brig.

The fire broke out in the forge, between three and four o’clock in the morning and spread at a phenomenal rate. There were no victims, but enormous damage. The destruction of the village was almost complete. There were only a few buildings left standing, those that were separated from the core of the village by the Zarrire stream.

Within hours, the fire destroyed 305 buildings. 112 houses went up in smoke with their contents ranging from furniture, to clothes, dishes, kitchen equipment, spinning wheels, looms, books, papers, memories and so many personal things. In addition to the houses, attics, barns, stables, grainaries, and other storage spaces went up in flames. Worse, all the crops of the year, grains, beans, potatoes, fruit, hay, some of which had been kept for several years, also burned.

We must not forget the cellars with the « breno » that allowed meats to be dried out of reach of rats and mice, made of wood, as were the cheese racks, barrels, glasses and « barrots », the elongated and flattened barrels used to transport wine by mule up from the valley of the Rhone to the mountain. We must also think of the many tools such as scythes, rakes, picks, mule pack-saddles, ropes and transport cloths. This list is incomplete, however, it still lacks a lot of tools, because the mountain farmer was also as required, a logger, a carpenter, or a mason."

The disaster was such that today it is impossible to imagine the distress of the population. Twelve families only, out of one hundred forty-two, were spared with their houses still standing.

 

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