Today was a sad day for the historical Boblo Boat, as the S.S. Ste Claire caught on fire, and crews tried to battle the fire.
According to the Detroit News, “The boat, which was tied up at Riverside Marina, is feared to be a total loss, but owners Ron Kattoo and Saqib Nakadar vowed to rebuild the iconic vessel if possible.”
Initially, when WDIV started to stream the fire, many were thinking that maybe the boat was set on fire as an insurance loss, but the official report as of right now is that the fire was the result of a Welding accident, according to the Detroit News.
Detroit Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell told the press that, “Welding is being considered as one of many possible causes. The arson team is still investigating but at this particular point, we know there were welders on the boat before the fire started… It appears to be accidental, however, the investigation is not over yet.”
According to MLive, “Boblo Island Amusement Park opened in 1898 and closed 25 years ago in 1993. The Ste Claire and the Columbia took passengers on the 18 mile ride to the island for a day filled with roller coasters and other rides and attractions. The Columbia is also undergoing a restoration. It’s currently docked in New York.”
Before being moved to the Riverside Marina, the boat was docked in Delrey / Wyandotte area downriver, and many photographers were able to get shots of the boat long before the fire.
Boblo Island Amusement Park has been closed for 25 years, so most of us in our thirties can still remember young days of hitting the island’s rollercoasters up until 1993. Losing the S.S. Ste Claire is a big loss to Detroit’s history, and despite the fact that it had been sitting for a long time, the boat still maintained some cool shape and was even used in a ‘Transformers’ movie a few years ago.
Check out some images of the boat while it was being restored, shot by John Versace / @EtherDetroit in the gallery below: