Sussex Advertiser - Tuesday 15 March 1859
About noon on Tuesday a fire broke out on Pilstye farm, about three miles from this town, and it was not extinguished till about £150 worth of property had been destroyed.
It originated in a barn of unthrashed oats, and was supposed to have been occasioned by a spark from the chimney of an adjoining cottage. The barn and its contents were completely destroyed, and the only wonder is that the whole of adjacent property did not meet with the same fate. As it was, about a half of a stack of hay was consumed, while the remaining portion was irretrievably damaged.
As soon as information reached Cuckfield, Supt. Akehurst posted of to the spot and rendered every assistance, being aided by some of his men.
The barn belonged to J. A. Hankey, Esq., and the other property belonging to the occupier of the farm, Mr. James Longhurst. It will hardly be credited, but it is really a fact that there is not a fire engine stationed in any town or village nearer to farm than Horsham, a distance of no less than a dozen miles.
Even Cuckfield, such an important place as this is now becoming, owing to the many gentleman's seats that have been and are being established in the neighbourhood, a fire engine has never been stationed, or even seen.
Surely the inhabitants merely want an appeal to be made to them in a proper way to induce them to raise sufficient money to guarantee the establishment of this great desideratum. The residents of the town and neighbourhood are now only compelled, for their own pecuniary safety, to insure their property in some fire office to its fullest value, but they are hourly threatened with being burnt out of their "house and home."
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