Tonawanda, N. Y., Aug. 4. -- The barge SANDUSKY, owned by O. W. Blodgett of Bay City and laden with 5,000,000 feet of lumber for Silverhorn & Company of North Tonawanda caught fire at 2 o'clock this morning and John Kent of Daraga, Mich., a member of the crew was burned to death.
Kent was 24 years old. He left his home six days ago and got employment on the SANDUSKY contrary to the wishes of his parents, it being his first trip before the mast. Kent and two other sailors were sleeping in the forecastle of the vessel, which came down the river and tied at A. A. Bellinger's dock at 11 o'clock last night. When they awoke they found the forward part of the boat full of smoke and fire eating its way through the deck over their heads. Kent was the last to attempt to escape from the forecastle and his companions thought he had succeeded until he was missed.
Upon the arrival of the firemen, Chief Christ, accompanied by Glen Hosmer, a member of the department, and Jeff Staley, engineer of the Grand Island ferry tug, endeavored to enter the forecastle while streams were being played on the rapidly increasing blaze.
After half a dozen attempts the three men reached Kent and brought his body on deck. He had been dead some time before they reached him, being burned beyond recognition.
The fire continues to burn, with little prospect of being extinguished today, it being extremely difficult to fight it in the hold of the boat. The boat's cargo is valued at $40,000 and the boat is valued at $15,000. The fire started from a dummy engine on the upper deck over the forecastle.
Efforts to save the SANDUSKY were abandoned at noon, as the fire had gained headway despite the fact that the firemen worked on the blaze nearly 10 hours. As a last resort to save the boat and a part of her cargo, the water plug was pulled and the vessel sank to the bottom. The upper works of the boat are above water and the hold is a seething furnace.
Buffalo Evening News
Tuesday, August 4, 1903
. . . . .
Capt. E. Jean of Tonawanda has bought the propeller ALCONA and will convert her into a lumber carrier. The schooner S. J. TILDEN, owned by Capt. Jean, will be towed by the ALCONA. Edward Prill has rebuilt his boat SANDUSKY, which was burned at Tonawanda last season, and she will tow with the propeller C. H. BIRKHEAD.
Buffalo Evening News
Friday, April 1, 1904
Schooner OLGA. * U.S. No. 115141. Of 593 tons gross; 536 tons net. Built at Gibraltar, Mich., in 1873. Home port, Buffalo, N.Y. 178.4 x 33.3 x 12.6 crew of 7.
* formerly schooner SANDUSKY.
Merchant Vessel List, U.S., 1904