The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 15 Dec 1910

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Crew of Steamer Ottawa Had Narrow Escape.

That the crew of the steamer Ottawa, burned at the wharf at Cape Vincent, N.Y., on Wednesday morning, escaped with their lives, is no doubt due to the alarm which was given by Miss Maggie Mattis, who was employed on the boat as a cook, and who is a sister-in-law of Capt. Hudson, who was in command of the vessel. Miss Mattis lives at Clayton.

The first call for breakfast turned out to be an alarm for fire. Miss Mattis was preparing breakfast, so it appears, and was ringing the first bell, when she noticed flames in the fire hole. She at once cried "fire," and continued to ring the bell, so that everyone on board the vessel could hear the alarm. The fact that she had presence of mind, not to get excited, saved the crew.

As soon as the men on the boat heard the cry, they ran to the fire hole, but the fire had made such headway, that they found it impossible to do anything. They just had time enough to get off the vessel in safety.

Miss Mattis was the only person who met with mishap. As soon as she gave the alarm, she went into the kitchen, to get some of her belongings and came within an ace ? of being hemmed in there. She was taken out in the nick of time, but not before her face and hair had been scorched. However, her injuries were not of a serious nature.

The flames spread rapidly. Capt. Carnegie and Capt. Hudson occupied rooms near the wheelhouse. After the alarm, Capt. Carnegie could not see Capt. Hudson, and fearing that he had not heard the warning, Capt. Carnegie went back to his room, but found that Capt. Hudson had gone off the boat. Capt. Carnegie then tried to get off the vessel, but he found every avenue cut off. He made his escape by way of one of the fenders.

The members of the crew had no time to save any of their effects and lost practically everything. Capt. Hudson is mourning the loss of a valuable gold watch. After the fire was over, he picked up the remains of his timepiece, which were melted into an awful mass. The fire started in the coal bunkers. The firemen rendered able service, but it is stated that it had such a start, that it was impossible to save the vessel.

The steamer Pierrepont is now on the Cape Vincent run, with the veteran Capt. Colman Hinckley in charge. The Pierrepont went over to the Cape, this morning, leaving in a blinding snowstorm at seven o'clock.

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15 Dec 1910
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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pd [more details]
Copyright Statement:
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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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 15 Dec 1910