Boat that ferried passengers to Boblo Island catches fire

Photo courtesy of WXYZ Channel 7 in Detroit.
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DETROIT (AP) (7/6/2018) - Investigators say welding may have sparked the fire that struck a boat that once carried passengers to an island amusement park in the Detroit River.

The SS Ste. Claire caught fire about 11:30 a.m. Friday while docked at a marina east of downtown Detroit. The Ste. Claire is one of two steamships that traveled for decades between Detroit and Boblo Island in Canada, about 15 miles away.

The amusement park closed in 1993.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation, but Detroit Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell says welding being done on the mostly wooden boat was suspected.

Police and fire officials say it's doubtful the aging vessel can be salvaged, but owner Ron Kattoo said he hopes to rebuild the boat if possible.

The blaze aboard the SS Ste. Claire was under investigation Friday after the fire broke out around 11:30 a.m. northeast of downtown Detroit.

Flames engulfed the boat Friday at Riverside Marina northeast of downtown Detroit and that fire crews were dousing the vessel with water.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately known.

The SS Ste. Claire and SS Columbia made their last runs in 1991. They were designated as National Historic Landmarks in 1992.

The Columbia was moved by tugboat in 2014 to Toledo, Ohio, for repairs before heading on to New York state.

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