La Crosse, WI Excursion Steamer J. S. Fire, June 1910 - 1500 in Peril
1,500 IN SHIP FIRE PERIL.
EXCURSION STEAMER BURNS ON MISSISSIPPI RIVER.
FOUR DEAD, NUMBER SERIOUSLY INJURED AND 400 SLIGHTLY BURNED -- PANIC ENSUES -- BOAT BEACHED.
La Crosse, Wis., June 27. -- Four persons are dead, a number seriously injured and about 400 slightly burned in attempting to escape from the burning hulk of the excursion steamer J. S., with 1,500 passengers aboard, which caught fire in the Mississippi River 15 miles south of here.
The steamer was beached on Bad Ax Island and most of the passengers were got ashore, althouth wild panic ruled.
MRS. ANNA RANDALL of New Auburn, Ia., jumped overboard in midstream at the first cry of fire, and was drowned.
Unknown Woman, who leaped into the river.
JAMES PLANE, Waukon, Ia, burned to death while confined to the prison of the steamer for disorderly conduct; one of two men who are supposed to have set fire to the steamer by smoking cigarettes while locked up.
Unknown Man, burned to death with PLANE.
MRS. DR. MEYER, Lansing, In.
MRS. JOHN JOSEPH, Desota.
MRS. ARTHUR BAILEY, Victory, Wis.
MRS. AUGUST KIPLER, Victory.
The hundreds who were slightly burned were those who could not wait to escape from the steamer over the gangplank. The story of the rescue as told is that the steamer, when it finally reached Bad Ax Island, where the passengers were able to escape ashore, was burning so fiercely that only 200 of the 1,500 aboard were able to go ashore on the gangplank. The other 1,200 or 1,300 passengers were forced to leap over the rail into water four or five deep and wade ashore, suffering terribly until they were able to reach the main land.
Those who were burned were hurt when sliding down the burning stanchions to get to the water from the upper decks. It was too late to escape through the stairways, and many feared to jump. The boat was burned entirely to the water's edge.
Stevens Point Daily Journal Wisconsin 1910-06-27