Grand Haven, MI (Lake Michigan) Steamer NAOMI Burns, Mar 1907
AFLAME IN MIDLAKE.
STEAMER WITH EIGHTY PERSONS ON BOARD BURNS, BUT ALL ARE SAVED EXCEPT FIVE.
FOUR OF THEM DIE HORRIBLY.
COOPED UP IN THE HOLD AND NO CHANCE FOR THEIR LIVES.
OTHER DEAD IS A PASSENGER FATALLY ROASTED IN HIS BERTH -- OTHER VESSELS NEAR -- CREW IS HEROIC.
Grand Haven, Mich., May 22. -- Five lives were lost and about seventy-five people had a periously close escape from death when the passenger and freight steamer Naomi, of the Crosby Transportation company, burned in the middle of Lake Michigan while on her regular night trip from this port to Milwaukee. Four of the victims were coal passers penned down in the forecastle by the flames, where many of the rescued passengers from the decks of the freighter Kerr and the steamer Kansas saw them at the portholes vainly imploring for help.
J. M. RHOADES, of Detroit, a passenger, was the fifth victim. He was terribly burned in his berth, and died soon after reaching a hospital at Grand Rapids, Mich. The steamer was burned to the water's edge, and has been towed into this harbor, where she lies at her dock a smoldering hulk. The fire broke out about 1:30 a.m. between decks in the forward end of the steamer. It spread with tremendous rapidity, and it was apparent almost from the first that it was vain for the crew to fight the flames.
They immediately turned their attention to arousing the passengers and getting them on deck. Headed by Steward PHILLIP ROSSBACH and Purser WM. HANRAHAN the members of the crew worked like heroes to save the sleeping men, women and children. Captain TRAILL sent up signals for help as soon as he discovered that his ship was afire, and in a few moments three steamers whose lights could be seen a few miles away came to the rescue. They were the steel freighter Kerr; the Kansas, a sister ship of the Naomi, and the Saxonia.
By the time the three steamers had reached the scene the Naomi's boats were in the water filled with people, and a number of passengers was still huddled on the stern of the burning ship. The captain of the Kerr ran his big steel ship up under the Naomi's stern so close that the imperiled people leaped to her deck. Then the screams of the imprisoned coal passers were heard from the bow port holes. Vainly they begged for help. The portholes were too small for them to pass through and they were compelled to fall back into the smoke and fire, where they burned to death.
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