The "Noronic" Disaster
Photos by Alan L Brown - Posted April, 2004
Photo Source - Wikipedia
Plaque coordinates: 43.639983 -79.3761
On the evening of September 16, 1949, the "Noronic", a Great Lakes cruise ship carrying 524 passengers, docked at Pier 9, 100 metres east of here. At 1:30 the next morning a passenger noticed smoke seeping from a locked closet. Crew members fought the fire, but it erupted into a life-threatening inferno before they could waken everyone aboard. Passengers descended the gangway, climbed down ropes, leapt onto the dock, or jumped into the harbour. Firefighters, police and passers-by assisted, but 119 perished. All but one were American passengers. An inquiry resulted in stricter fire safety enforcement which forced older cruise ships out of service and caused a decline in passenger shipping on the lakes.
Posted November 29, 2011
Interesting site. I had the misfortune of seeing this great ship while it was on fire. If given a choice, I would have rather liked to have seen her in her glory just by being moored in Toronto at any given time. I was only 6 years old at the time but can vividly remember seeing the glowing flames. My parents first heard the news on their car radio while we were driving home from my grandparants (mother's side) place and I can remember them saying in shock, "God, the Noronic is on fire" and we had to pass close by on the way home. My parents were on the Noronic on a couple of occasions. I have since started a collection of postcards and images of the Noronic in honour of those who perished on her on that fateful night.
Posted September 20, 2009
This brought back vivid memories for me as a 7 year old my parents had had to take me along as they responded to requests for help. I remember them carrying stacks of blankets and thermoses of coffee in the middle of the night. ( No babysitters available). I don't think they realized the enormity of the tragedy when they got the call.
Posted August 4, 2009
Very interesting! Thank You! I am was read tall about this disaster in book "How the steamboat was killed the town" by Leo Scryagin (c) "Transport" Edition, Moscow, USSR, 1989. (Russian language). Now developed big-book about shipwrecks in seas, lakers, rivers, ports and docks from XVII centuries to our days. Many tells by Leo Scryagin and other authors, illustrations, maps, seas/sailors dictionary. Chapters about disasters vessels - overkills, fired, collisions, explosives (also "Montblanc" steamship wrecks in Halifax, 1917), lost in nowhere, criminal acts, during the wars, attacks from sea animals, big storms and other factors. In the chapter "Fire on a board!" planed article "Brocken glass and press the button" - about "Noronic" burning. Also, planed tells about other shipwrecks on Great Lakes - "Carl D.Bradley", "Edmond Fitzgerald", "Eastland". Born of this book planed in 2010-2011 year.
With pleasure, Georges Michael, Moscow, Russia
Posted August 4, 2009
My Father's parents, my grandparents both died in the ship fire. I am currently speaking with people at The Canadian Consul in Detroit about having a 60th anniversary memorial this Sept. 16th. No word on that yet
Posted July 5, 2008
My aunt, uncle and their friend were on the ship the night of the fire. I do not believe that they would have survived had it not been for the fact that my Uncle had worked on ships for many years and knew where the escapes routes and exits were. They were forced to climb over some of the dead and still barely made it out.
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