THE STEAMER "INDIAN EMPIRE " DES-
TROYED BY FIRE (Prom the Timcw)
Lite on Wediies-liiv night, 2 3;d July, a fire broke out oj b.v.ul ilu Indi.ui Empire steam -.hip, 2000 crross tonnage, belons to Mr. Z. 0. Pearson, of Hull, lying in the river off Deplford, which has caused the complete destruction of the vessel. The livliau Empire was built of wood, and was propelled by pa Idlewheel ensines of 700-hor&e piwer. Tue leiiuth of the main deck was 2lt) feet o inches, and her exteuie hrealth 39 f,-et, her depth of hold 30 fivt, and her registered tonnage, exclusive of her engines, 1,357 ton*. She one lime traded b-tweea Bremen aud New Yoik, and, and afterwards belonged to Lever's Gal way Line, (hi Mr. I'ear.son purchasing her, he placed her in the bands of Messrs. Lungiey and Co. the shipbuilders at DoptWd. off whose yard at Watergate she has been lying for the lust two or three months undergoing a complete repair. It is understood Messrs. Luu.'ley ha I finished their contract. A shi pkeep n r named Brown la I charge of the vc-sel in the daytime, and two watchin«'n in the employ of Messrs. Limeley relieved him at nkht. Brown, it appe ir.s left the .ship on Wednesday ni-htat 9.30, when the watchmen came on. Previously to his leaving he went over the ship, and found all lights and fiies out and everything secure. One of the watchmen, named Reynolds, w.vs the firs' to discover the fire at 10 30 p.m.. only an hour alter Brown left. He states that wh-Ie walking the deck he saw smoke and names issuing from t'te lamp tojiu. Calling his comrade, they got some, buckets of water aud att Q mpted to extinguish the fire, but in vain. They then got on «hoie and gave the alarm. Immediately on tha fact heinu'uiade known to the authoti ies of the Royal Dockyard, the police woio ordered to man tl-e Government floating engines moored off the yard. and haul off to the vessel. In a quarter of an hour the fire had laid hold of die main and iuizen-ma.*,ts, the riggi"g, anil the cabins ou de 'k. By half-past eleven o'clock tho ship appeared all on fire. Long hefo c the raountert-polief could reach town with the news of the disaster, the glare from the burning ship had been noticed at most of the fire brigade stations in London. Both of tho steam floating engines of the brigade, moore I at Rothcrhithe and Southwnrk bridge, were also got under weigh an I sl-earned down with all rxpelition. About half-past twelve the latter arrived alongside the «hip. Captain Shaw, the chief of the brigade, and one of his officers, Mr cwvton. who joined the steamer in its passage down, immediately clambered up into the only part of the deck remaining, and surveyed the condition of the ship. The main and mizen masts had fione by the bo ml, the deck w.is destroyed, and with all the cabins bad fallen in. The hold was on fire fo e and aft, and the ye sc! was burning to a shell. The steam fire eutdneo and likewise the dockyard floating-engines, were all got to work ou the weather si le, an 1 the water was poured into the *vteam<M' in torrents. Tho police made an ineffectual effort to scuttle her by bonng holes in her bows. Captain Shaw, from the first, saw the impracticability of saving tho ship, and determined, as the only resort, to till her with water. The enormous power of the steam floating-engines of the briuade soon told, for nt four o'clock it could be seen that the. water thrown into her was fast settling !u-r down. The eugines never ceased working, relays of hands being constantly put on the other floating engines, which were worked by manual power. As the morning advanced the ship settled down faster and faster until about nine o'clock, when she grounded and filled. There is much speculation regarding the origin of the fire, but nothing nutheutic is known beyondjthe details above given. The loss is computed afc .-fi'23,000. Tbe amount of insurance effbefcod on th° ship was £15,000, in the Commorehl anl Union lire-offices. It is somewhat si'iarular that another .steamer, tho Modern Greece, belonging to Mr. Pearson, was posted at Lloyd's yesterday as a total loss to the underwriters at the same time that the burning of the Indian Empire waa made known.
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Otago Witness, Otago Witness, Issue 566, 4 October 1862
THE STEAMER "INDIAN EMPIRE" DES Otago Witness, Issue 566, 4 October 1862
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