TWO FIRES ON SHIPBOARD.
The Cunard steamer Catalonia had a fire in her hold among the cotton bales when over three days from Queenstown, Ireland, on the way to Liverpool from Boston. The burning cotton was hoisted on deck and thrown overboard. Within forty-eight hours more fire was discovered; but it was put out by flooding the hold. The crew were admirably disciplined and the slight panic among the passengers was at once quelled. Every preparation was made to get the passengers safely off in the boats; but such a step was not necessary.
At about 9 o’clock p.m, on July 8, just after the women passengers and children had gone to their state rooms ; fire, probably arising from spontaneous combustion, was discovered in the cargo of the afterhold of the Clyde liner Delaware, ;ust off Cedar Creek, N. J. The passengers were at once notified and the crew rung to quarters. The afterhold was flooded; but the fire still kept creeping farthet forward. The male passengers took a turn at the hose, and. as the crew testified, worked as hard and as doggedly as any of the sailors. The fight being a hopeless one, ( apt. Ingram ordered the ship’s four boats to be lowered. The first took the eight women passengers, the stewardess, and the three children; the second and third were given over to the male passengers; the fourth remaining to take of! the captain and the remaining officers and crew At the first alarm the women, mindful of the behaviour of the crew of La Bourgogne, were at first panicstricken; but the coolness of Captain Ingram, and the perfect discipline of the crew, soon set their minds at rest. It was a Yankee ship, officered by Yankees, with most of the seamen Americans, and they lived up. so the passengers say, to the very best traditions of the Yankee merchant marine. It was “ women and children first,” after that the male passengers, while the crew and captain stuck to the boat to the very last. The captain and part of the crew had intended to leave the vessel on the last brat or the life-raft, but were cut ofT by the the flames, and had to improvise a raft from hatch, deck gratings, and anything on deck that would float. Meanwhile the life-saving crews on the beach were signaled, and put off in their lifeboat. They pulled out nearly five miles; rescued the captain and his men from their crazy raft; and relieved the overladen boats of some of their occupants.
A fishing sloop of New York, attracted by the fire, hove to. and Capt. Ingram went aboard her. after which the women and children were taken on board from the lifeboat. The others were taken aboard the ocean going tug Storm King, towing light coal barges to Norfolk,Va She anchored her towunder the beach, and conveyed the unfortunates, who had lost everything, to this city. Many of the crew were badly burned; but, with the captain and officers, behaved magnificently. Though there was quite a quantity of liquor among the cargo, not a drop was touched by any of the sailors, and every man stuck to his post. Chief Engineer Platt remained below with his engines until driven out by the flames and smoke. But, just as the raft left the ship’s side, he jumped on board again and shutoff steam, feaiing that the boilers might burst before the boats got out of danger. Second Mate Hill took off the last boat, filled with the crew. While they were still by the side of the blazing ship, it was discovered that the plug had come out of the boat and the ciaft quickly filled. The second mate coolly plugged up the hole with his handkerchief. The heat was so intense that a colored waiter leaped overboard to escape it; but the rest of the crew stuck, some pouring water over themselves and the oarsmen to enable them to stand the terrific heat. Few of the crew escaped without blisters and raw burns on hands, faces, or necks. One fireman, who had stuck to his post till it was too late to get into a boat, threw over a hatch, and with it swam 200 yards to the waiting lifeboat, which could not approach closer because of the intense heat. His neck, back, and hands were burned raw while swimming. The captain and crew could not say enough in praise of the life-savers, whose quick work in getting to them with the heavy lifeboat was more than they could understand. The Delaware, which was still burning on the morning of July 9, sank as she was being towed bv a wrecking tug towards New York harbor. Before that she blew up with a loud explosion—the ammunition she was canying for the army in Cuba having caught.
The passengers are loud in praise of the perfect discipline of the crew, who formed in two lines from thecompanionways and passed the passengers along to tne side of the ship where was the boat ready manned waiting for them. At no time was there the slightest sign of confusion or hurry. Some of the women were disposed to be hysterical, but were laughed out of it by the sailors.