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Read the story of Billy Weeks, who risked his roadster and his life to save settlers from fire. In 1922, cars were precious commodities in the new settlements of Northern Ontario.

They call him Billie Weeks - this indomitable young man who, in two furious hours, dashed madly along the flame-swept road between Englehart and Charlton in his fire-scorched Gray-Dort Roadster-making the perilous journey ten times, and thereby saving one hundred and fifty settlers’ lives.

Billy Weeks and his Gray-Dort RoadsterBillie Weeks is a road inspector. On the morning of the disaster he set out to examine some work and beyond Charlton he met the fire. He turned and dashed eastward, the flames in hot pursuit. Nobly responding, his car reached a forty-eight mile an hour clip, yet the wind behind swept his own dust past him.

His Car in Flames

At Charlton, the flames overtook him, set fire to his car and the village. Smothering his car, he telephoned a warning to Englehart, then loaded his Gray-Dort with children. A few minutes later he crashed into Englehart, himself blistered, his car sizzling and running on the rims, yet doing its heroic work like a thoroughbred.

Covering his face and arms with vaseline and padding the hood of his sadly battered car, he deliberately headed back into the flame-licked road to Charlton. Ten times he drove down and back on a road swept on each side by flaming bush in smoke-choked blackness, searching out panic-stricken refugees, piling them sixteen at a time, rushing them with madly racing engine on bare rims to safety.

Honour Him and His Gray-Dort

For the next few days Billy Weeks did herculean work repairing roads and burned culverts. And as the truth became known, it was found that one hundred fifty people owed their lives to Billie Weeks and his sturdy roadster.

“How the Hero of Englehart Saved 150 Settlers’ Lives With His Gray-Dort Roadster.” Toronto Star, October 9, 1922. :
Photo Credits:
Toronto Star [Billy Weeks and his Gray-Dort Roadster]
Facility Rentals Northern Nature Trading Bushplane Productions Our Aircraft Ontario Provincial Air Service
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