For   several   days   the   smell   of   burning   pervaded   the   house   although   no   one   could   find   the source.   But   early   on   the   morning   of   the   1st   February   1905   a   fire   broke   out   near   the   main   heat - ing boiler, and quickly engulfed the whole house. Luckily the household was evacuated safely. A scan of a local postcard from the time, depicting the fire. This   was   in   the   earliest   days   of   the   Fire   Brigade,   and   before   the   telephone   of   course.   One   of the   estate   workers   had   to   gallop   on   horseback   3   miles   to   nearby   Hemel   Hempstead   to   raise the   alarm.      A   horse-drawn   manual   water   pump   was   dispatched,   which   arrived   an   hour   and   a half   later,   at   5am.      By   this   time   the   estate   workers   were   trying   to   save   the   contents   of   the house, the library contents, antiques and paintings. Things   were   made   worse   by   the   fact   the   house   is   on   top   of   a   hill,   a   long   way   from   any   water source.   Attempts   were   made   to   pump   water   up   the   hill   from   the   River   Gade,   but   the   distance proved too great and the hose pipes were not able to contain the water pressure. During   the   next   day   hundreds   of   sightseers   came   from   the   surrounding   area   to   view   the   spec - tacle.   After   the   fire   had   gone   out   and   when   it   looked   safe,   the   butler   and   footman,   worried about   looting,   started   to   return   the   wine   to   the   cellar   which   was   still   intact.      Unfortunately just   at   that   moment   an   interior   wall   collapsed,   crashing   through   the   cellar,   instantly   killing the   butler.   The   local   newspaper   gives   a   very   graphic   description   of   the   footman,   pinned   down by   the   red-hot   bricks   crying   for   help.      He   was   eventually   extracted,   but   his   burns   were   so   bad that he died the next day in hospital. The   fire   and   deaths   were   a   spur   to   the   local   council,   with   help   from   private   individuals,   to build a new fire station in Hemel, and acquire their first steam-powered water pump.