Tillamook, OR Steamer QUEEN Fire, Feb 1904


Queen Catches Fire Off Mouth of Columbia River.


Heavy Seas Cut Off Escape---Flames Subdued After Four-Hour Fight---Met Another Gale.

PORT TOWNSEND, Wash., Feb. 28.---After suffering the most harrowing experiences from fire and storm that have ever befallen a craft on the north Pacific coast, the steamship Queen to-day put in here to report the loss of fourteen lives.

Ten of those who lost their lives were spilled out of the small boats: three men, waiters on the vessel, were suffocated before they could reach outer air from their bunks in the aft part of the ship, and one woman died later from exposure.

According to the stories told by passengers and the crew, the vessel was off Tillamook and about thirty miles from land at 3:45 A. M. when the fire was discovered. There was a heavy sea on, and the ship was pitching badly.

When smoke was discovered coming out of the social hall on the after main deck of the vessel, the crew was immediately hurried out, and the small boats were manned, while the stewards went from cabin to cabin waking up the passengers.

When Capt. Cousins discovered the extent of the fire, which embraced practically all the rear portion of the vessel, he immediately ordered the lifeboats launched.

Four, filled with women and children and sufficient men to man them, were dropped over from the windward side of the vessel, each containing about sixteen people.

The first boat capsized almost as soon as it touched the water by getting under the stern of the ship. All the passengers in this were rescued by the other small boats, with the exception of Miss Steiner, of first-class passenger, who was drawn under the ship when the boat capsized.

The second boat capsized while being lowered. There were no passengers in it at the time, but the crew of four men were spilled out and lost.

A third boat filled about half a mile from the Queen, and all but four of its passengers and crew were rescued by the other small craft in the vicinity.

The passengers and those of the crew who remained on board continued their fight against the flames until 7:40 A. M., when the fire was brought under control. When it was brought the danger from fire was past, Capt. Cousins recalled the remaining lifeboats and the occupants were taken aboard.

The Queen was headed for the mouth of the Columbia River, and about 9 o'clock the steamship Santa Monica was sighted. The Queen signaled and asked her to stand by until temporary repairs could be made. When everything had been made safe, the Columbia, only to find the bar was too rough to cross in.

The distressed craft then made for Puget Sound, but had fortune still pursued her, and when she had fortune still pursued her, and when she rounded Cape Flattery she encountered a terrific electric storm, and with difficulty weathered the gale. She reached here without further mishap, and proceeded to Seattle, where she arrived about nightfall.

The list of the dead follows:

First Class Passengers---Miss STEINER, Clellum, Wash., drowned: Mrs. ADAMS, died from exposure.

Second Class Passengers---D. Newsbury, Texas: H. Buckley; both drowned.

Members of the Crew--A. Nielsen, J. Neilsen, and H. Preitas, stewards; M. H. Eneman, M. Somers, H. Douglass, A. Donnelly, and B. Raymond, engineering department; Peter Mullin and M. Flynn.

The New York Times, New York, NY 29 Feb 1904