18th June 1937

Pollet guest house fire claimed its third victim

A St Peter Port guest house fire claimed three lives in mid-June 1937. Two of the dead were holiday makers.

One of the dead, 55-year-old Arthur Marillat, was holidaying in Guernsey from his home in Twickenham. He was staying at the fated guest house with his wife, also 55. It was Mrs Marillat’s first ever trip away from the mainland.

The 13-room boarding house, which was above a butcher’s shop, was being occupied by thirty-five people, including the owners Mr and Mrs Pugh. The fire broke out without warning at around four o’clock in the morning and quickly took hold of the building.

As reported by the Portsmouth Evening News, “two men walking outside saw smoke and at once raised the alarm. The building flared up and in a few moments the occupants appeared at the windows, many of the women shrieking for help.”

Many of those who got out alive only escaped by jumping from the upper storey windows. Several were caught by the proprietor’s wife, a pair of police constables and a cafe owner from across the street.

However, Mrs Marillat was not so lucky. She fell 40 feet, and injured herself so badly that she was killed. Her husband, too, fell badly, and fractured the base of his skull. He was taken to hospital but died at 4am the following day – 18th June. According to the Nottingham Journal, he had “lapsed into a semi-conscious state before his death”.

He died a hero

The fire’s third victim was Alfred Blower, the father of the guest house owner. Despite being a 67-year old invalid, Blower ran back into the house to rescue a girl that he thought was trapped inside. The girl had already escaped, but Blower was never seen again. His body was found several hours later, once the fire had been extinguished.

Not much of the building was left by the time the flames had been put out. The fire had been so intense that the roof fell in, leaving only the walls standing.

 

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Other events that occured in June

Cricketer Charles Grieve died in Shropshire 1st
St Johns undertook its first Guernsey rescue 2nd
Bailiff John Guille died in Plymouth 3rd
GUNS writer Joseph John Gillingham was deported 4th
First arrests were made at Guernsey Airport 5th
Jethou was put on the market 6th
The king and queen celebrated Guernsey’s liberation 7th
Occupying forces confiscated Guernsey’s radios 8th
Guernsey Railway company ceased operations 9th
Guernsey welcomed its first steam ship 10th
Laura Kennington kicks off Channel Islands triathlon 11th
Dame Sibyl became a dame again 12th
Guernsey voted to legalise local abortions 13th
Victor Hugo’s house is opened to the public 14th
The Channel Islands were demilitarised 15th
Guernsey was invaded by Colorado beetles 16th
States Telephone Department was established 17th
Pollet guest house fire claimed its third victim 18th
Aurigny founder Derrick Bailey died 19th
Guernsey joined the Football Association 20th
Guernsey’s school children were evacuated 21st
Guernsey celebrated Queen Victoria’s jubilee 22nd
Princess Elizabeth opened Guernsey’s hospital 23rd
Guernsey chose England over France 24th
First meeting of Guernsey’s Controlling Committee 25th
Guernsey bought Fort Grey from the War Office 26th
Guernsey coffee trader William Le Lacheur died 27th
G-JOEY completes his last flight 28th
Guernsey suffered its first and only air raid
The Star was published for the first time 29th
Two deserters were shot after landing on Guernsey 30th