IOWA HISTORY PROJECT
Fatal Blasé On an Ohio River Boat at Cincinnati.
The Steamer Golden Rule Burned.
Lives – Many Are Missing
Cincinnati, April 1, 1892 – At 5 o’clock Wednesday evening a fire broke out on the steamer Golden Rule, lying at the foot of Main street. between the Golden Rule and the shore was the steamer Fleetwood with steam up and ready to pull out for up the river. The Golden Rule was booked to leave at 5 o’clock for New Orleans, and had fifty or more passengers on board. A panic ensued. A dozen or more jumped into the river, while all the other passengers escaped by jumping from the Golden Rule to the Fleetwood, thence getting to safely on shore.
Five Lives Lost.
Thus far five lives are known to have been lost. These are: Miss Nellie Maloney; Frank Reilly, second mate; Jim Madison, mate; Nat Homer, white deck hand, and an unknown woman. Mrs. Easton of Addyston, a suburb of this city, is also missing, and it is feared she is lost. Three or four others who were known to have been on the boat, but whose names were not obtained, are missing, and the death list may be increased to ten or more. None of the bodies have been recovered although searchers are diligently at work. Miss Maloney, jumped into the river between the steamers Golden Rule and Fleetwood and her body is supposed to be near the scene of the disaster.
She lost her presence of mind completely when the fire broke out and could have saved herself, having had ample time to escape to shore by the way of the Fleetwood. All of the victims so far as known are Cincinnati and Covington people.
Origin of the Fire.
The fire originated on the lower deck of the Golden Rule by one of the deck hands setting a lamp on a barrel of varnish. In a flash the flames communicated to the rubbish and thence to the lighter freight. In twenty minutes the whole structure was enveloped in a mass of fire. The boat was not immediately released from the wharf. By reason of this the Big Sandy wharf boat was soon ablaze and before the fire department, which was duty summoned as hastily as possible, couldn’t do anything was also doomed. The burning boat soon broke loose from its moorings and started to drift down the stream. By this time it had proceeded 150 feet it was burned to the water’s edge. As soon as the fire was discovered all the other boats at the landing were cut loose and steered out into the current.
The Golden Rule, Capt. O. P. Shinkle, was worth $35,000. It had a fine cargo estimated at $50,000. Everything was burned in less than an hour. The wharfboat was filled with merchandise, the value of which could only be guessed at. All the books of the office were lost. The wharfboat was insured for $12,500 in the Eureka Fire & Marine Company. The steamer Golden Rule was insured for $15,000.
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