Bowmansville, ON (Lake Ontario) Steamer BAVARIAN Fire, Nov 1873






New York -- A special dispatch from Oshawa, Ontario, gives the following account of the burning of the steamer Bavarian, while on her passage from Hamilton to Montreal. On Wednesday evening about 8 o'clock, as the Bavarian was about midway between Oshawa and Darlington, the crew and passengers were horrified. A loud report, followed by smoke bursting from below. The fact that the vessel was on fire was at once realized and a scene of indescribable confusion followed, the pitiable condition of those on board being intensified by the distance from shore and the piercing cold. There were four life boats on board, and a rush was made to get them. Two were successfully launched one was broken and the fourth went adrift and was lost. The passengers were panic stricken, and crowded into the boats and pulled off for the shore, leaving fourteen agonized human beings on board, three of whom were ladies. Had they gone after and got back the boat which went adrift all might have been saved. Great blame is attached to those who left the vessel in the way they did leaving the women to certain death. The vessel burned with fearful rapidity, and it was evident that no hope remained for those on board. The captain who remained, was last seen on board, but is supposed to have perished. A few perished miserably in the flames but most of those on board took refuge in the water with the passengers, boards, &c. The cold quickly bewildered them and fourteen persons in all are supposed to have found a distressing death.
The vessel burned to the water edge, and all night buffed every effort of the strong tug to get hold of her hull. She was finally towed to Oshawa harbor.
The survivors after a painful exposure of four hours succeeded in reaching port about 12 o'clock.
The origin of the fire is unknown. The only theory is it must have commenced in the engine room and been overlooked until it had spread too far to be checked.
The steamer had a valuable cargo, and was insured to a considerable amount.

Daily Kennebec Journal Maine 1873-11-08