Wisconsin's Great Lakes Shipwrecks - Explore Shipwrecks - Ottawa
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That evening, the Ottawa's exhausted nine-man crew ate supper and retired to their bunks around 7 p.m. Within a half hour they were awakened by a huge blaze on board, and it was already burning out of control. They leaped from the Ottawa's deck onto the James H. Hoyt . Once everyone had escaped the Ottawa , they cut the lines that connected the vessels. The tugs that had worked with the Ottawa pushed the tug away from the rescued Hoyt, so the fire would not spread. News of the incident was hastily sent to Bayfield. Reid Wrecking sent the tug Reid to help, but it was too late to save the Ottawa . It burned to the waterline and sank.

To this day, the fire's cause remains a mystery, but some people speculated that the fire was a result of spontaneous combustion in the Ottawa's coal bunkers, which held 130 tons of fuel.

At that time, the vessel was worth approximately $60,000. The Whitney Brothers of Superior salvaged the Ottawa's engine and some machinery in May 1910, and the tug Manistique finished the job by removing the propeller and other remaining items in September 1911.


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