Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Burning of the SS General Lyon-- Part 4: The Fire Spreads

By 10 a.m. Friday morning, off Cape Hatteras, the storm had reached hurricane proportions and high seas were running.  The Gen. Lyon was tossed about.  Some sixty miles off land the fire alarm was given. and a few minutes later, fire was seen at the rear of the pilot house..

The passengers were mostly below decks suffering from seasickness.  Efforts to put out the flames with fire pumps were unable to keep up with the rapidly growing fire.  Making matters worse was the fact that the hatches were all closed to keep water from cascading in from the heavy seas.

Alarmed by the smoke, passengers began making their way to the deck but were driven back by the flames.

Meanwhile, the SS Gen. Sedgwick, commanded by Captain Starkey, arrived on the scene and a schooner also hove to the stricken ship.  The storm was too violent to attempt rescue, but the flames were spreading.

--Old Secesh

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