However, on 12 February 1916, there was an unfortunate turn of events. The incident was sensationalised in the Fifeshire Advertiser (19 February) which asserted that "thrill after thrill was served out to the staid resort of Lundin Links on Saturday night, one villa being razed to the ground, and another having a narrow escape". To begin the tale....at around 9pm, a sentry went to an upstairs room within St Catherine's while all the other men were out (either on duty or on leave) and found it full of smoke. The Scotsman of 14 February gives the following account:
"The guard were called out, and attacked the fire, which had started in the parlour, the only place where a fire was kept. At this stage the flames were confined to the floor and had evidently risen from a cinder which had fallen from the grate. Immediately after, however, the flames passed along the joists into another room in which the furniture of the villa was stored. There the fire burned fiercely."
The Fifeshire Advertiser added:
"P.C. Flaws and other local men joined the military; fire extinguishers were secured from Mr Ferguson's and Mr Somerville's, and an increased attack was made. By some means the window in the parlour was broken; the wind got hold of the flames....and at once the place flared up like a pine torch."
The Buckhaven Fire Brigade were called. Unfortunately, their engine was under repair and they had to bring their apparatus in Messrs Smith and WIlliams' motor car. Moreover, once on the scene, they found that "the stand-up pipe would not fit the local hydrant" and so the motor car had to return to Leven to fetch alternative equipment. It was not until the arrival of the Kirkcaldy Fire Engine that "the real attack on the pile" began. Under the direction of Firemaster Rough, the roof was cut and a curtain of water was employed to keep the flames from spreading to adjoining villa (Aird Bank). The Fifeshire Advertiser further noted that "Captain French had earlier in the evening caused the removal of a large quantity of explosives from St Catherine's but continual minor explosions told of cartridges going off" and "the fire was visible over a wide area and attracted a great crowd."
Built in 1896, St Catherine's at the time of the fire was owned by the Misses Dickson (three of the daughters of Edinburgh master gun maker John Dickson) and consisted of three public rooms, six bedrooms plus kitchen, scullery, etc. It can be seen above with its twin pair to the left of St Margaret's and Mount Vernon. Fir Park was owned by postmistress Margaret Bremner. Damage at the gutted St Catherine's was estimated at £1500 while Fir Park's damage was around £50. Looking at St Catherine's today, it is easy to spot the parts of the original architecture that were lost. The red roof ridging and decorative eaves, seen on its counterparts, are absent (see below).