Century-old Silver Water home destroyed in blaze

This century old house in Silver Water was destroyed in a fire May 31.

SILVER WATER—A house in the community of Silver Water that was over 100-years-old was destroyed by fire on Tuesday of last week. The blaze destroyed the former Walter Smyth home, now owned by Jim Martin.

“The house burned down in the fire,” stated Robinson Township Fire Chief Doug Wismer. “The guy who called it in had been just passing by and could see the flames coming out through the windows of the house. We (the volunteer fire department) received the fire call and responded to it at around 3 pm (on Tuesday, May 31).”

“It was the old Walter Smyth home located on the old Cook’s Dock Road,” said Mr. Wismer. He pointed out, “It was a historical home-over 100 years old.”

Jim Martin, of Gordon/Barrie Island, had bought the farm and house from the family about seven years ago. Mr. Martin occasionally stayed at the house in the summer to do haying on the farm.

“It was a big house, two-and-a-half stories in size with a garage,” said Mr. Wismer. “It was like the old Eaton type of house with a lot of masonry work. It is very difficult to extinguish a fire in this type of house.”

As testament to how hard a fire in a building like that is to extinguish, Mr. Wismer told the Recorder, “it took quite a while for us to contain the fire. We were there from about 3:30  pm until about 9 pm and it wasn’t until after 5 pm that we could get it under control.”

The house had been built in 1913 by Roy Smyth, said Mr. Wismer. Stewart Clarke of Gore Bay had done the masonry work on the house when it was constructed.

“We suspect the cause of the fire was electrical, but we aren’t positive,” said Mr. Wismer. A couple of adjacent buildings were saved. “We were very lucky the wind was blowing from the east instead of blowing toward the bush, because we would have had an even harder time getting the fire under control.”