OCR Interpretation

The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, September 03, 1914, LAST EDITION, Image 8

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1914-09-03/ed-1/seq-8/

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All of the testimony taken by the
steamboat Inspection department in
the quiz into thfc-burning of the City
of Chicago in the federal building
yesterday afternoon was sealed up
and sent to Washington. There the
head of this department will go over
it carefully to see if it is possible to
charge the licensed officers in com
mand of the boat with neglect of duty
or carelessness.
If this is done it will eliminate the
boat owners of the responsibility of
the accident and the laws says that
if charges can be brought against of
ficers who handled the ship that the
only testimony which can be brought
into court is that pertaining to the
misconduct of those officers and all
testimony relating to the ownership
and the equipment of the boat is
This same law applies to the inves
tigation into railway wrecks, which is
one reason for these time-killing af
fairs which stall off suits for damages
until they are forgotten.
Victor Olander, secretary of the
Lake Seamen's Union, says that there
were only two experienced seamen
on the boat, eliminating the officers,
and that these are the quartermas
ters who steer. He said that yester
day he looked at the certificate issued
by the Steamboat Inspection Service
and in the space where the number
of seamen the boat carries is set forth
that this space is left blank.
"Ihe crew of the City of Chicago
is composed of 64 men who are paid
60 cents a day with the promise of $1
a day if they stay on the job a
month," said Olander. "They are usu
ally glad to quit at the end of the
week. These men are roustabouts,
green hands, who would fiot know
what to do if there was an accident.
This is the reason Captain Bjork
steamed past the outer breakwater
and crashed into the second' at the
point where the lifesaving station is ,
located. He knew that there he woi'ld
have experienced help to handle the
crowd of women and children.
Captain Mansfield, chief federal
steamboat inspector of the Chicago
division, said that from the testimony
he gathered at the investigation yes
terday he doubted whether charges
could be brought against the officers.
The City of Chicago is certified to
carry 2,000 people, and Olander, who
is a thorough seaman, says that 1,000
is the limit she could carry in calm
weather. There are lifeboats for 20Q,
which means 800 would have to swim
with life preservers.
"The lifeboats had not been swung
into position to be launched in case
the fire became unmanageable and
those on the starboard side were -destroyed
by the fire," Olander said.
"Don't you suppose that if the City
of Chicago had been manned by an
efficient crew that these boats, which
were destroyed, would have been
launched and trailed in the water
ready for any emergency.
"It was reported that the conduct
of the crew was admirable, but even
so they were inexperienced and didn't
know what to do. Without doubt a
great many lives would have been
lost if this had occurred in mid-lake."
The reports of the investigation
will not be made public for weeks. By
that time it will have been forgotten
and the recommendations the Steam
boat Inspection Bureau will make
for new laws will be forgotten.
o o
London, England. Queen Alexan
dra, accompanied by Queen Amelie of
Portugal, called at Devonshire House,
the headquarters of the British Red
Cross Society, She made careful in
quiries as to what was being done by
the various sections, and expressed
herself as delighted with the arrange
ments. Before leaving she shook
hands with all present, including a
boy scout. Queen Amelie of Portugal
has offered personal service in the
nursing department.

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