Burning of the Sprite
Seven men and seven women had a very narrow escape for their lives, consequent on the burning of the sloop yacht Sprite, off Parkway Baths, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. The fire was caused by the foolhardiness of one of the men on board, who with the women, in consequence of stormy weather, were crouching in the engine pit, which was full of gasoline drippings. This idiotic individual, being unable to do without his cigarette, lit a match and let it drop. The leaked out gasoline exploded and the flames shot upwards. The mate, as they were within 300 yards of the Gravesend Bay Yacht Club’s house, made for that point. The flames, however, drove him from the helm forward to where the women were with difficulty restrained from leaping overboard. It was growing dark and a southwest wind kicked up a very choppy sea. Waves swept over the deck, but failed to extinguish the gasoline flames, which were fanned all the more by the stiff breeze. The yacht, favored by the wind, was near shore, when suddenly it veered round and turned the sloop’s nose towards a projecting bulkhead. It seemed as if she would go straight against it, when once more the wind shifted and the yacht headed right for th“ beach. A fire alarm had been turned in and Fire Chief Rogers was on hand with his men. They waded out as far as they could with safety and a mounted policeman rode his horse into the sea, almost within rescue reach, when the wind and the waves caught the sloop broadside till her keel showed through the breakers, flung her forward and landed her on her side in shallow water.