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As It Was: Burning Steamship Smolders on Crescent City Beach

The big steel steamship Oregon was sailing from San Francisco to Portland in early March 1905 when fire broke out in the cargo area.  The ship with 57 passengers aboard was 15 miles southwest of Crescent City.

The captain ordered all hands to the deck shortly after the afternoon blaze erupted among merchandise destined for Portland.  Passengers were advised to prepare for an emergency. 

As the flames grew, and despite the crew’s frantic efforts to extinguish it, the ship began to list.  The captain of the nearby Del Norte, recently departed from Crescent City, spotted the smoke and cruised toward the burning vessel. 

The Del Norte reached the Oregon, took its passengers aboard, and delivered them safely to Crescent City.  The Oregon’s crew kept the ship afloat as fire fighters battled flames all the way into the harbor at Crescent City, where the vessel was beached and left to smolder.  The cargo was lost but the ship appeared salvageable.

The passengers continued overland to Portland.

Source: "Bad Blaze on Oregon." Roseburg Plaindealer, 2 Mar. 1905, p. 1. Historical Oregon Newspapers, oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn84022679/1905-03-02/ed-1/seq-1/#date1=01%2F01%2F1846&city=&date2=12%2F31%2F2019&searchType=advanced&language=&sequence=0&lccn=&index=9&words=FRANK+HANLY+J+j&proxd. Accessed 20 Nov. 2019.

Lynda Demsher has been editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, a radio reporter, a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight, Redding California. She is a former teacher and contributed to various non-profit organizations in Redding in the realm of public relations, ads, marketing, grant writing and photography.