Maritime History of the Great Lakes
R. N. Rice (Steamboat), 13 Jun 1877
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The work of repairing the stm. R.N. RICE, which lies at the old Northern Transportation wharf, has not yet commenced. Yesterday J.J. Shepard, of Cleveland, E.C. Johnson, Michigan City, Indiana, Capt Joseph Nicholson, J.C. Burton, with Mr. Carter, of this city, were engaged in computing the value of the furniture destroyed. This morning A. McVittie, of the Detroit Drydock Co., and Mr. Morris, foreman of Clark's drydock, will make a survey of the amount of rejoiner work it will require to place her in her former condition. James W. Bartlett, of the Detroit Locomotive Works, and Wm. Cowles, of the Detroit Drydock Co. will hold a survey on the machinery.
      The estimates of the above gentlemen will probably be completed by tomorrow evening when the work of rebuilding will begin at one of the dry docks. On furhter examination it is found that the fire could not have originated in the lamproom as first reported, as that part of the steamer is almost entirely free of damage. It is now believed that it started in the steerage where the deck hands bunked.
      The engine it is believed has escaped serious damage, although a number of rods and braces of the frame are warped.
      Steam was got up in the forenoon to ascertain if the cylinders had been cracked by the heat. The test failed to show any flaws and it is thought they are comparatively uninjured.
      The immense heat to which the engine was subjected is illustrated by the fact that over 200 pounds of melted brass has been gathered up which formerly did duty on the ends of the walking beam and other parts of the machinery.
      The signal bell, which weighed about 75 pounds and hung under the walking beam, was melted in 2 so that the lower part fell on the engine below.
      That the fire was stayed, after having gained the headway it did, is invariably spoken of by the large number who visit the RICE as exceedingly remarkable. For this the ferry boat FORTUNE and EXCELSIOR are entitled to great praise, and to them and the Fire Department Capt. McKay expresses his thanks.
      Detroit Free Press
      June 13, 1877

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survey of damage
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William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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R. N. Rice (Steamboat), 13 Jun 1877