STEAMSHIP FIRE AT TORONTO.
On September 21 the steamship Picton of the Richelieu and Ontario line was gutted by fire in the harbor at Toronto and two lives were lost, several other persons narrowly escaping death. Only a few passengers were on board when the fire broke out, and these were all carried safely ashore by the captain, Charles Redfern and Steward Oswald, who imperiled their lives in so doing. When the fire was first discovered, several of the officers and crew tried to check it with their own appliances, but were driven back. Telephone alarms brought the downtown sections of the fire brigade, and in half an hour the flames were under control. The firemen from the Hay street and Lombard street stations were on the scene within seven minutes after the outbreak, and even before they eottld get to work the lire had enveloped the eastern side of the steamer, which faced the I oronto Electric Light company’s works, on the opposite wharf. The hretug Nellie Bly put out from her mooring at the Church street wharf and rendered material assistance to the brigade, with two well-directed streams of water. The lire raged fiercest amidships from the region of the engines and boilers, and worked its way forward on the east side. The firemen were handicapp d by the fact that tltev e mid attack the flames oul. on one side, and they had to use ladders n> reach the upper decks. One woman passen ger and a stoker wer – burned to death The Picton was 140 ft, long and 40 ft. beam, She was worth $60,000 and had n hoard a cargo worth $20,000 more. She was equip d with a fire-pump, which v as started immediately, and the hose was attr clud at once. The officers and men, who were regularly drilled for fire-service, were on hand at once and at their posts on the hurricane deck. They had hardly made the hose connections, however, before they were driven off by the Haines and smoke, except a few on the lower d ck. who stood it out for a short time The fire burned fiercely and the woodwork, which was heavily coated with paint, went up like so much tinder, and, as the blaze started under the pump, the latter was soon out out of commission. The coroner’s jury evidently thought the officers and crew could have done better, as the verdict returned found the company “negligent in not enforcing discipline in lhe handling of the firefighting apparatus.” The origin of the fire, it appears, was the setting on fire of a large oil tank by a torch which a cleaner was holding lit in his hand while he was filling it with oil.