Cruise Ship Fires

Cruise Ship Fires
SS Noronic Fire September 17, 1949

SS Noronic Fire Toronto, Ontario September 17, 1949, Burns with Over 100 Dead

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SS Noronic Fire September 17, 1949

SS Noronic Fire Toronto, Ontario September 17, 1949, Burns with Over 100 Dead

On September 17, 1949, at approximately 0230 hours, Canada Steamship Line's cruise ship Noronic was set ablaze in a fire labeled as an arson, killing over 100 passengers aboard. There were 524 passengers and 171 crew members sailing on a seven-day Lake Ontario cruise which had embarked on September 14, 1949.

The fire was discovered by a passengers who noticed smoke coming from a locked linen closet located on starboard corridor on C-deck.

Within eight minutes, half of the cruise ship was ablaze, with most of the passengers asleep in their beds. That was the when the first alarm was raised. All loss of life was passengers, all crew were able to safely evacuate.

Crew who attempted to fight the fire found fire hoses and extinguishers not working. The Toronto Fire Department arrived at 0241 hours, only three minutes after the alarm was raised. They began the rescue operation but were unable to reach many passengers in their cabins who were screaming and burning alive.

The death count varied, depending on who was telling the story, but numbered somewhere between 120-130 passengers. Deaths were from burns, suffocation, being trampled in the evacuation stampede or in the case of only passenger, by drowning.

The fire was extinguished by 0500 hours.

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