Caught On Fire Out At Sea

Source Information

  • Title Caught On Fire Out At Sea 
    Date 2 Nov 1890 
    Periodical The Morning Astorian 
    Place Astoria, OR 
    Source Type Newspaper 
    Source ID S1402 
    Text From The Morning Astorian, 2 Nov 1890

    Caught On Fire Out At Sea

    The Steamer "Michigan" Arrives in Port with a Hot Cargo

    A Lively Race for the River

    Considerable excitement was created in this city early yesterday morning when a dispatch was received from Ft Canby announcing that the steam schooner Michigan was coming in on fire. E. A. Noyes, agent of the Union Pacific Company which owns the vessel, at once dispatched tug boats to meet the incoming steamer. The boats picked the distressed vessel up at the mouth of the river, but Captain S. F. Graves, who was in command of the Michigan, said that all he required was for the tugs to stand by. He reported that his vessel was afire in the forehold and had been burning for several hours. He had the hatches all battened down and the fire smothered in such away that he could make port and turn her over to the agents and underwriters. The tugs stood by and escorted the vessel up the river.

    The scene was an exciting one. Wild reportsliad proceeded the arrival of the Michigan, and hundreds flocked to the wharves to see -the burning vessel come up. The crowd was disappointed for save for puffs of smoke issuing from the seams at the bow, through the forward hatch and through the dead light holes of the freight deck, no fire was visible.

    The vessel came up the river at full speed, and by 12 o'clock had a line ashore at the Union Pacific dock. The few passengers on board were landed, and then the underwriters' agent, Chief Stockton of the fire department, and others, together with the Union Pacific representatives, went on board. A consultation followed, and the result was that it was decided to scuttle the vessel forward, or rather to sink her by the bow and thus smother the flames. Lines were run out, and with the aid of a tug the vessel was Warped around into a position between the west end of the Union Pacific wharf and the old sturgeon wharf.

    No. 1 and No. 2 engines were called out, but considerable delay was occasioned by the fact that the burning vessel was stuck in the mud, and the tugs made an effort to tow her off. This, it was found, could not be done, so orders were given and two lines of hose from each engine were put on board and the work of flooding the steamer commenced.

    The hose was put down through the hatch and as the first stream of water struck the fire, a mass of thick black smoke accompanied by a strong odor of burning fish was wafted to the wharf. Throughout the afternoon the engines pumped water into the hold.

    It was a veritable volcano. The fire was confined among 500 barrels of lime and 2,300 cases of salmon, with a lot of coal on one side to help it out The combined efforts- of the local engine companies told on the fire after several hours and at 7 o'clock last evening the fire was out.

    The damage could not be estimated last night but it will amount to probably 15,000. The vessel is considerably damaged, and of the cargo, the 2,300 cases of salmon, which belonged to Morgan & Sherman, are almost a total loss. The fish was insured for its full value, about $9,000. The lime, to which the origin of the fire is attributed, is also a total loss, but outside of this and the damage to the ship the loss is comparatively small.

    Captain Graves, master of the Michigan, stated that the fire was discovered about 2 o'clock yesterday morning when the vessel was about fifty miles off the entrance to Gray's Harbor. The hatches were at once battened down and all the ventilators turned. It was intended to kill the fire at once and the entire crew were summoned. The first attempt showed that this would be impossible, with the appliances at hand so the hatches were battened down again, the course laid direct for the Columbia river and the engineer told to open her wide. This was done, and the little steamer came along at a rate of speed she had seldom attained. The few passeugers were somewhat "frightened but they put their trust in Captain Graves and he saw them through. At first they insisted on the vessel being beached at once, but the skipper preferred to stay by his ship and get her into a place where if it was necessary to scuttle her he could find her again. Seeing he was determined, the passengers withdrew their objections, and the Michigan arrived here as state.

    With the exception of the salmon, the lime and other cargo is destined to Portland. 

This site powered by The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding v. 14.0.3, written by Darrin Lythgoe © 2001-2024.

Maintained by Hugh Byrne. | Data Protection Policy.