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Waukegan, IL (Off shore) Steamer SEA BIRD Burning, Apr 1868

SEA BIRD woodcutting of the disaster 1868.jpg

The steamboat inspector of this district has decided to issure an order to engineers of all steamers on the lake, and their assistants, to stop their engines on the instant of a fire alarm, without waiting orders from their superior officers; and not to start again without an order delivered personally by the chief officer.

The SEA BIRD'S Passengers.
Milwaukee, Wis., Friday, April 10.
The following persons embarked in the steamer SEA BIRD from Manitowic: GEORGE W. EMERIC; JOSEPH D. DONCETT; CHARLES ROACHER; HENRY PFEIFER; JAMES A. HODGES, Clerk; FREDERICK HENIM; FREDERICK HENNING; Capt. N. F. NELSON; Capt. JOHN SORVENSEN; JAS. LYKOM, Cashier; LEGRO WENZEL; ____ HAVLICHEK; ALBERT MEIVA; R. H. HUNT; WM. BARTOW; P. C. DONNOLLY; and FRITZ KLUMMER, of Chicago. Also the following deck hands: JOHN FOUCKS; A. WILDE; HENRY NIEMAN; AMOS MEYER; FREDERICK FLOSBACH.
JAMES H. LEARNED, of Manitowic, who was a passenger on the SEA BIRD, saved himself by clinging to the wheel-house, and was washed ashore near Evanston, Ill., about 2 o'clock this morning.

The New York Times New York 1868-04-11

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TERRIBLE DISASTER ON LAKE MICHIGAN.

STEAMER SEA BIRD BURNED AND NEARLY SEVENTY LIVES LOST.

About six o'clock on the morning of the 9th inst., the steamer Sea Bird took fire off Waukegan, and the boat, with all its contents, except three passengers, perished in the flames or were drowned. The fire was probably caused by the porter's throwing overboard, ashes, with live coals which blew back among some wooden ware, packed in straw. There were about 30 passengers on board, and about 40 others connected with the boat. The only survivors as far as known are C. A. CHAMBERLAIN; J. H. LEONARD and EDWIN HANNEBERRY, passengers from Sheboygan. The latter makes the following statement.
About six o'clock this morning I saw smoke arising on the main deck below the ladies cabin. There was a lot of tubs and some straw lying near, and fire got among them right away. I cried "fire" and the crew and passengers rushed from their rooms.
There was great confusion, and the fire spread so rapidly as to convince me that it had been burning a long time. Within five minutes the after part of the boat was in flames. I do not think that all the ladies had time to get out of their state rooms, and some of them and the children must have been burned. An effort was made by a portion of the crew to reach the small boats, but failed.
MR. CHAMBERLAIN states that about half past five he was looking over the side of the steamer and saw the porter come out of the ladies' cabin with a scuttle of coal and ashes and going to the bulwarks near where a quantity of miscellaneous freight was stored, threw the contents overboard. In about a quarter of an hour he heard the alarm of fire and saw the flames issuing from the pile of freight. It seemed not more than ten minutes before the whole after part of the boat was in flames. In his opinion, when the porter threw the coals overboard, the wind drove some of them back into the freight. He heard no explosion and thinks if the fire had caught from a boiler explosion it would have been discovered sooner.

Continued on Page 3.

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