Reported in the News Letter on May 30, 1914: Flax scutching mill in Tyrone destroyed by fire

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A large flax scutching mill situated at Black fort, midway between Omagh and Fintona, has been completely destroyed by fire.

The owner of the mill, Mr Charles Patterson, had the water power turned on the mill for the purpose of scutching some tow, in which operation he and his son were engaged, and when he was in the act of scutching the third “wad” of tow, he observed a spark fly from the wad which he had in his hand.

The spark immediately ignited the dust and “shoves” which are always littered about a scutch mill, and in less than half-a-minute the whole building was completely enveloped in flames.

Desperate efforts were made by Mr Patterson and his son to check the blaze at the beginning, but they were of no avail whatever, and the flames swept along the building in a few seconds, destroying everything before them.

A large number of neighbours assembled but by this time the mill was practically gutted.

Mr Patterson purchased this mill about three years ago, and great sympathy is felt with him in his misfortune, as the building is not covered by insurance.