The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Oswego Commercial Times (Oswego, NY), Friday, July 27, 1860

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Destructive Conflagration!
The Screw Steamer Prairie State Partially Burned!

At about 8 1/2 o'clock last evening, a fire was discovered in the hold of the Northern Transportation Company's steamer Prairie State, Capt. Williams, which was lying at their dock fully freighted and bound for Chicago and intermediate ports. The alarm being given, the Fire Department turned out promptly and rendered all the assistance in their power to extinguish the flames, but it was found impossible to effect anything, as the fire was gradually gaining ground and almost entirely out of reach of water. The only alternative left was to scuttle her; accordingly holes were bored in her sides, and she now lies sunken in a greatly damaged condition.

Much credit is due to the firemen, who remained on the spot as long as they could be of any service, and owing to their exertions the hull of the steamer above water, was saved from a total loss. The Prairie State arrived from Ogdensburgh at 3 p.m., and was to leave this port at 11 o'clock last evening. She had on board a miscellaneous cargo, consisting of all kinds of merchandise, but as her bills have not yet been received here it is impossible to judge correctly as to the amount of loss, - but it is variously estimated at from $20,000 to $30,000 - nothing is known in regard to insurance on the cargo, which, being owned by many different parties, the loss will not probably fall very heavily upon one individual. The passengers got off safely with the principal part of their effects.

The damage to the steamer is estimated at $2,000, which is entirely covered by insurance. The fire is supposed to have originated from the furnace. The work of raising her has begun, and she will be afloat today, and arrangements are already made by which she will be repaired and in running order in two or three weeks ad the farthest. No blame can possibly attach to any one, as the officers were all on duty at the time of the fire, and used every exertion to subdue the destroying element. The accident is one sincerely to be regretted, but it will cause no interruption to the regular line, as the Company have other steamers sufficient to supply all the demands of business.

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Friday, July 27, 1860
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Richard Palmer
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Oswego Commercial Times (Oswego, NY), Friday, July 27, 1860