Lookout Cove, NC Steamer BERKSHIRE Fire, Oct 1912


Passengers in Vessel Off North Carolina Coast in Danger.

NORFOLK, Va., Oct. 20. -- With a fierce fire raging in one of the cargo holds and the passengers panic stricken, the Merchants and Miners steamer Berkshire, bound to Philadelphia from Savannah, was reported this morning at 1 o'clock in serious danger, forty-three miles northeast of Cape Lookout, N. C. In response to the distress calls went out when the fire was discovered about midnight, the Clyde liner Apache is standing by the endangered steamer.

Assistance has also been asked by wireless of the revenue cutters stationed off the Carolina coast.
The fire was not discovered until shortly before midnight. Smoke began to pour out of the hatches and a hurried examination showed that it had gained considerable headway in the cotton packed in one of the holds. The wireless at once began to flash up and down the Atlantic coast news of the ships danger.

The Fresno Bee California 1912-10-20



1000 Bales of Cotton Afire in Berkshire's Hold.


Revenue Cutters and Steamer Standing by to Take Them Off When Sea Moderates.

Norfolk, Va., Oct. 21. -- Passengers and crew were in deadly peril on board the steamer Berkshire, of the Merchants' and Miners' Transportation company, which is anchored off Cape Lookout, with a fire sweeping through 1000 bales of cotton in its hold.

The officers and chew[sic] of the Berkshire did not dare open the hatches to fight the flames for fear that the ship may be consumed.

The Clyde liner Apache responded to the wireless appeals of the Berkshire and stood by the vessel.
Several revenue cutters and other craft are also standing by.

When fire was discovered in the freight holds of the Berkshire, she was plowing through a heavy sea, in the teeth of a strong north wind about forty-five miles north of Cape Lookout, on the wreck-strewn Carolina coast.

Captain HART acted with coolness and dispatch. He ordered the crew to batten down the hatches and instructed the wireless operator to send out an “S.O.S.” The imperative appeal for aid was caught by wireless operators on the Apache and several other vessels. These ships changed their courses and hastened to the assistance of the imperiled ship.

Captain HART then drove his ship with all possible speed for Cape Lookout.

In the meantime the passengers on the Berkshire sensed danger and all rushed to the decks in their night clothes. When it was learned that the vessel faced the worst of maritime perils – a fire at sea – women fainted and strong men quailed. The captain, however, calmed the fears of the passengers with the consoling news that the vessel was not far from land, and that she could be beached if necessary.

Continued on page 2