Long Island Sound, NY Steamer GLEN ISLAND Burns, Dec 1904
PERISH IN SHIP FIRE.
TWO PASSENGERS AND SEVEN OF THE CREW DEAD.
FLAMES SPREAD RAPIDLY.
FIREMAN LOSES LIFE IN FUTILE ATTEMPT TO RESCUE WOMAN.
STARIN LINER GLEN ISLAND TOTALLY DESTROYED BY NIGHT FIRE ON LONG ISLAND SOUND -- COURAGE AND DISCIPLINE OF CREW ALONE AVERT LARGER DEATH LIST -- MEN IN HOLD BUT OFF FROM ESCAPE BEFORE THE ALARM REACHES THEM.
New York, Dec. 17. -- By the burning of the Starin Line steamer GLEN ISLAND in Long Island Sound today nine lives were lost and property roughly estimated at $250,000 was destroyed. That more lives were not sacrificed undoubtedly was due to the personal courage of the officers and crew and the excellent discipline maintained when a horrible death for all seemed almost a certainty.
When the steamer was abandoned she was flame- swept from stem to stern, and yet the only persons who lost their lives were those whose escape had been entirely cut off by the fire before the alarm reached them, and a woman passenger, who returned for her purse, and Fireman MILLER, who perished in a heroic attempt to rescue her.
Of the thirty-one persons, including ten passengers who sailed away on the GLEN ISLAND last night, twenty-two including eight passengers, were brought back today. The dead are:
Unknown Hebrew Woman, believed to be ROSA SCHALFSKI, who resided at 206 Hamilton Street, New Haven.
Unknown Man, supposed to be a New Yorker.
W. E. HENDRICKSON, assistant engineer.
LUMAN MILLER, fireman.
FRANK BUSH, fireman.
JOHN BURKE, fireman.
OTTO L. ALOLFRAN, fireman.
O. BERG, deck hand.
PETER BENSON, deck hand.
Among the passengers rescued were:
MR. and MRS. FREDERICK B. STREET, New Haven.
Two Daughters of the STREETS.
MAX LEVITT, New York.
NATHEN DUBIN, New Haven.
ARTHUR WALLA, Wellingford, Conn.
The GLEN ISLAND left her dock here at 9:30 last night on her regular trip for New Haven. There were ten passengers and a crew of twenty-one men, including CAPT. CHARLES E. McALLASTER, First Mate IRA LARSEN, Pilot THOMAS McMULLEN, and Quartermaster JOHN O'BRIEN.
Rush Of Smoke And Flames.
The trip down through the Sound was without incident and just before midnight, when about three miles west of Greenwich, Conn., CAPT. McALLASTER left the pilot-house and went below for his midnight lunch. At that time there was no indication of trouble of any kind, but hardly had the captain reached the galley when there came a rush of stifling smoke from the hold of the steamer and every electric light on board the craft was extinguished. When the captain rushed to the deck smoke was pouring from every passageway and flames were sweeping up through the aperture around the walking beam.
CAPT. McALLASTER sent in the alarm for fire drill and the men came tumbling out of their burks. In the meantime the steering gear had been blocked, and the pilots, finding themselves unable to direct the course of the steamer, hurried to the assistance of the other members of the crew in saving lives.
CAPT. McALLASTER ordered McMULLEN to go to the hurricane deck and loosen one of the boats, while he went to the main deck and tried to loosen the two large lifeboats. CAPT. McALLASTER managed to loosen the port lifeboat. The other lifeboat was frozen to the davits, but a smaller one was soon ready to be lowered away.
Confusion Among Passengers.
While the officers and crew were working there was a fearful scene of confusion among the ten passengers. They ran about the saloon in disarray. The woman who lost her life had been aroused by the stewardess and was on her way to one of the boats when she suddenly turned, and dashed back into the flaming cabin. She was not seen again. There was no possibility of waiting for the rescue of those who failed to appear at once.
In the large boat fifteen people were afloat. They included the eight rescued passengers and seven of the crew, including the captain. The large boat was just about to be lowered, when the latter ran up and jumped in just in the nick of time, or he too would have perished. The smaller boat, which Pilot McMULLEN had managed to free, carried seven passengers.
The two boats were rowed as far away from the burning steamer as was necessary to escape destruction, and waited there and watched the boat burn. They made every effort to find any possible survivors, but there was none to be found.
The burning steamer drifted away toward the Long Island shore. In the meantime the tug BULLY, which was passing with a string of barges in tow, sighted the burning steamer, cast her tow adrift and came to the rescue of the persons in the boats. They were taken from the small craft, placed in the furnace room of the tug, clothing was given to them, and when the steamer ERASTUS CORNING came along, shortly afterward, were transferred to the latter and brought to New York.
Captains Island, where the GLEN ISLAND drifted ashore, lies off Greenwich, Conn., not far from the north shore of Long Island Sound. Survivors of the burned steamboat arrived in this city about daylight on the steamboat ERASTUS CORNING, of the same line, which docked at the company's pier at the foot of Cortland street, North River. They were scantily clothed having lost almost everything they possessed in their rush to the boats when the flames enveloped the steamboat. CAPT. CHARLES McALLASTER escaped with only his underclothes, trousers, and an overcoat. He lost nearly everything he owned, including money, jewelry, and clothing.
According to First Mate LARSEN, the fire broke out in the forward part of the steamboat when she was off Captains Island. LARSEN says he can't comprehend how the fire started, but declares that it seemed to have gained a headway which it was hopeless to attempt to fight almost at once, and in a few minutes the entire vessel was ablaze.
Trapped In The Hold.
CAPT. McALLASTER said:
"I believe Assistant Engineer HENDRICKSON must have been burned at his post. It was impossible for the six members of the crew to get from their bunks in the first hold, where they were sleeping. We heard their cries, but there was no chance for them. They died like roasted rats."
Regarding the death of the woman passenger, supposed to be ROSA SCHALFSKI, the captain said when all were ready to embark in the boats she returned to her stateroom for her purse. The flames cut off her escape, though the captain could see her at the door of her room.
"Fireman MILLER, who had dragged a lot of people out of their bunks, said to me," continued the captain, "I can't see that woman roast to death there. I'm going to get her."
"I told him it was impossible, but MILLER says, "Well, it's worth a try, anyway," and he plunged right through the fire and reached the woman. He picked her up, and as he turned to either jump overboard with her or to try to come back where we were, we could all lsee that his clothes and her dress were afire. It was awful."
"MILLER was about to make a dive with the woman for the water when the deck under him gave way, and he and the woman went down into the flames, both of them being killed."
Captain's Coolness Praised.
New Haven, Conn., Dec. 17. -- MR. and MRS. FRED B. STREET and their two daughters reached their home in this city this afternoon. MR. STREET said there was no panic or disorder, and he praised the coolness of CAPT. McALLASTER. He also declared that the stewardesses were really heroic in their efforts to save the passengers.
The woman passenger who lost her life, and on whose clothing the address "206 Hamilton street," was found, is now believed here to have been MRS. ROSA SILKEN, a Hebrew peddler, about sixty years old. Inquiry at 206 Hamilton street disclosed the fact that MRS. SILKEN went to New York several days ago, and was to have returned today. She is believed to have taken passage on the GLEN ISLAND. She had three sons -- one of them, ISAAC, lived with her. He is an employe of the New Haven Clock Shop.
The Washington Post District of Columbia 1904-12-18