Norfolk, VA Steamer MARYLAND Fire, Dec 1910


Three Hundred Passengers Have a Narrow Escape from Injury or Death.

Fire partly destroyed the steamer Maryland of the New York. Philadelphia and Norfolk railroad Thursday night and 300 passengers had a narrow escape from injury or death. The Maryland left Norfolk, Va., at 6:15 o'clock for Cape Charles. Thirty minutes later, while the steamer was between Bush Bluff light and Sewall's Point, a negro deckhand discovered fire among some bales of cotton in the freight hold. Mate Foster after an attempt to extinguish the fire single-handed, had to be hauled to safety by means of a rope which was passed down to him from the upper deck.

Eight United States sailors, passengers on the steamer, probably saved the lives of many passengers and prevented the destruction of the steamer. A sailor named Stone hung over the side of the steamer while several companions held his feet. With his hands he burst a window leading to the freight hold and turned a stream of water on the fire. He held that position for 15 minutes while the Maryland was racing with all speed possible for Sewall's Point to discharge her passengers, most of whom were at supper when the fire was discovered.

Owen Startt, an oiler, cut an artery in his arm by shoving it through a window pane. He was sent to St. Vincent's hospital in Norfolk. Had the fire been discovered 30 minutes later when the steamer would have been loss of life. The greatest damage was done amidships, where the fire started. The flames reached the upper cabin and the walls of some state rooms were badly scorched. A dozen tugs responded to the Maryland's distress signals and in a short time had streams turned on the blaze. The steamer Pennsylvania was rushed from Norfolk and took on the passengers from the Maryland and proceeded to Cape Charles.

Springfield Republican, Springfield, MA 17 Dec 1910