Nov. 10, 1851. - Steamer BUCKEYE STATE took fire while lying at the dock in Buffalo; damage to boat $17,125. A large load of merchandise on board, badly damaged by fire and water, estimated $10,000.
Disasters on the Lakes in 1851
Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
January 2, 1852
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Steamer BUCKEYE STATE took fire in her hold, while lying at the wharf at Buffalo and was saved from burning by being scuttled in 12 feet of water. Nov. 11, 1851.
Casualty List for 1851
Erik Hyle's private papers
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BURNING OF THE BUCKEYE STATE
Last night about half past eight o'clock the magnificent steamer BUCKEYE STATE took fire while lying at her dock at the foot of Commercial Street, and before the flames could be extinguished, was damaged to a large amount. The fire was supposed to have originated from the heat of the smoke pipe, setting fire to the wood work near it, below deck, but it is not certain, and there are various theories afloat as to the cause of the fire, some supposing it to have broken out in the hold. As soon as the fire was discovered, the steamer was
scuttled, but owing to the shallowness of the water, she did not sink far. The prompt arrival of the Fire Department, or at least such portion of it as had engines in order, and their determined efforts, soon got the flames in check, and after about three hours violent exertion, the flames were completely subdued. At the time of the breaking out of the fire, the BUCKEYE STATE was fired up and about to leave for Cleveland, for which port she had on board a large and valuable freight, and about one hundred passengers. It was highly
fortunate that the fire was discovered at so opportune a moment, for had the steamer been far from shore, it is more than probable that the fire would have involved the entire destruction of the boat and perhaps the loss of many lives. The boat was insured for fifty thousand dollars in several different companies, which we think will fully cover the damage done her. The hold was filled with valuable goods belonging to western merchants, a large portion of which are more or less injured. At one time, while the fire was raging the fiercest, there was a report spread among the crowd, that there was powder on board, which had been
smuggled in among some groceries. This caused a momentry panic, but the ever faithful firemen stood by their engines with an unwavering fidelity, and to their unflagging energy may be attributed the rescue of the boat from entire destruction. The BUCKEYE STATE was owned by Messrs. A.R. Cobb & Co., and Capt. Imson, her commander, and cost about $125,000.
P.S. -- We learn that the damage done the boat is estimated at twelve to fifteen thousand dollars, and that she was insured in the following companies:
Buffalo Mutual, North Westen, Utica, N.Y. Protection, Orleans and Franklin.
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It will be seen by the following certificate that it is probable that the fire of the BUCKEYE STATE originated in the hold and not from the boiler:
We, the undersigned, having been aboard the steamer BUCKEYE STATE, and having examined the premises of the fire, give it as our opinion that the said fire did not originate from the boilers or anything connected therewith, but that the fire originated in the after hold, by some combustible matter, such as matches or acids, or by the work or design, of an incendiary; and in making this examination we find that the joiner's work around the pipe or britches is but very little burnt, with the exception of where the draft would be the greater
from the after hole, and furtherest from the pipe.
John Baird, First Engineer
Buffalo Daily Republic
Tuesday, November 11, 1851
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Buffalo, Nov. 11 - About 8:oo P.M. the stmr. BUCKEYE STATE at the foot of Commercial Street, was discovered on fire in the hold near the boiler, which soon communicated to the hatches, and spread towards the stern. By the efforts of the firemen the flames were principally confined back of the wheel house above and below; though a slight change in the wind at the time carried the flames a little further forward, and caused the flames to break out in several new polaces.
The lower cabin back of the wheels was badly damaged, and the hold in the vicinity of the furnace and back, nearly burned out. The upper cabins were little injured by the fire, but considerably by water and cutting through by axes. She had steam up, and would have left for Cleveland in an hour, but the fortunate discovery of the fire. All the baggage of the passengers was saved, as was the principal part of the freight, of which there was a large amount.
The furniture of the boat was much damaged, much of which was removed. She cost $130,000. She last week changed owners.
Messrs. A.R. Cobb & Capt. Johnson, her commander, being the purchasers. Loss probably from $15,000 to $20,000 covered by insurance in Buffalo.
November 15, 1851 2-4
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The steamer BUCKEYE STATE. - This fine steamer, which was so badly burned at our dock last fall, is on the dry dock, and begins to look as good as new. False sides have been put on her, adding to the appearance of her model greatly, and her upper work is now being thoroughly repaired. She will be ready at the early opening of navigation.
Buffalo Daily Courier
Saturday, January 24, 1852
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