Extra Research for Season 6 – Episode 8 – The Fall
The Capitol Theatre, Moncton, NB
This entertainment venue was built in 1922 to attract traveling vaudeville acts. It was built in an opera house style and had a smaller auditorium on the second level at the rear known as the Empress Theatre. Ripley’s Believe it or Not featured the theatre because of its unique design of one lobby serving the two theatres. On March 26, 1926, a fire destroyed the Empress Theatre, and the Capitol lost its roof and stage. It was rebuilt the same year with the bricks from the original building. The very first “talkie” was shown at there in 1929.
The Saint John Salvage Corps and Fire Police assist the firefighters as well as the fire/insurance companies to protect the goods and merchandise from destruction from water or chemicals used in fighting fires. The volunteer Corps have served the area since 1850.
Alexander (Sandy) H. Lindsay
Captain Alexander (Sandy) H. Lindsay (1869-1926) was born in St. John, New Brunswick, son of Mathew and Eliza Jane Lindsay. He was married to Emily Vail and had a son, John B. He was a Captain with the St. John Scavenger Corps and had also been an advertising agent for the Canadian National Railways and reporter for the Daily Papers at St. John and Moncton, New Brunswick.
On the morning of March 26, 1926, Captain Lindsay and two other volunteer firefighters responded to a fire at the Capitol/Empress Theatres. The firefighters turned to go up the passageway into the Empress where the flames were making their way. Two of the firefighters jumped through a doorway into the alley just as a wall of bricks started to fall. Unaware of the danger, Captain Lindsay continued for a few steps when the roof of the passageway gave way and the rest of the wall of bricks fell on him. The two firefighters re-entered the building to find Capt. Lindsay lying in a crumpled heap on the floor with his head beneath the bricks. Captain Sandy Lindsay succumbed to his injuries about two hours later despite the efforts to keep him alive until an operation could be performed. Captain Lindsay remains to this day, the only firefighter to have been killed while on active duty with the City of Moncton’s Fire Department and a plaque in the lobby honours him.
— Joanne Schiavoni
Photo Credit: Moncton Museum