Wednesday, 24 August 2016

FIRE ON THE DELCOMYN.

Steamer Delcomyn, launched 1880 for the Blue Anchor Line - 1817 tons.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 12 October, 1891.

FIRE ON THE DELCOMYN
The Delcomyn will be remembered as having traded to
this port, and was one of the wool fleet from australia a
couple of years ago. She had an exciting experience
lately off Finisterre. The story, as narrated by the crow, is -

"We first discovered the outbreak 100 miles or so off
Finisterre, and it had then assumed alarming proportions'
Captain Giles at once gave orders for the inflammable 
portion of the cargo to be heaved overboard. We had tons 
and tons of explosives in the forehold, and were in a 
terrible state of anxiety that the flames, which were issuing 
from that quarter, had already got up to it. We lowered the 
boats, and while playing on to that part with the hose,
were ready at a moment's notice to put off and leave 
the ship - returning to her after the expected explosion. 
Fortunately we managed to subdue the flames in the 
forecastle, and all immediate danger was at an end. 
We next threw over case after case of wines and
spirits, we had no drinking water left, and the captain
strictly forbade us to touch a drop of liquor. We steamed
on to Vigo as fast as we possibly could, but all the time
were working like horses to subdue the fire, and for two
nights and days we had neither sleep food, nor drink. We
were bound for Rangoon from Cardiff with a mixed cargo,
principally of wines, gunpowder and cartridges, and 
provisions". In reply to a question as to tho cause of the fire,
the stoker and outers said that Captain Gyles and the
officers would assign no reason, but that the crew were
firmly convinced that it had started before they left Cardiff.

A fascinating account and YET AGAIN, no cause found. It is possible that if a fire had broken out on Waratah this might have started before Waratah departed Durban port. Fires on board steamers were a common occurrence - a few significant cases ending in tragedy.



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