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Derby Mercury, December 24, 1879

SUPPOSED INCENDIARY FIRE.— About two o'clock Monday morning a haystack, belonging to Mr Thomas Wheeldon, farmer, of Shirley, was discovered to be on fire. Prompt measures were resorted to, and the fire was subdued before any large amount of damage had been done. The occurrence had the lamentable effect in causing the death of Mr. Hitchcock, farmer, who had been suffering some time from disease of the heart. He resided opposite Mr Wheeldon's stackyard, and the alarm occasioned by the light from the burning rick brought on a severe attack of illness, which in a short time terminated in death. This is the fourth fire which has occurred in Shirley parish in the past few months, the sufferers being Mr Twigge, Mr Bonsall, Mr Lemon and Mr Wheeldon. There is every reason to suppose that the whole of the fires have been caused maliciously. Mr Wheeldon has authorised the police authorities to offer a reward of ten pounds for the discovery of the offender, and it is hoped that he will be brought to justice.

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