Kalakaua, the firemen’s king! 1875.

Burning of the Ship Emerald.—At half-past two o’clock on Monday morning an alarm of fire was sounded by the watchmen in the bell-tower, which proved to be for the ship Emerald, at anchor in the roadstead. Fire brigades, about two hundred officers and men, were immediately dispatched from the Pensacola in port, which took off two or three of the patent fire extinguishers. The city firemen also turned out promptly, with their machines, hose carts and ladders, ready to assist whenever ordered. At early dawn, the ship was towed into the harbor alongside the steamboat wharf, where the firemen and engines could get access to her. The fire was first discovered soon after midnight, but when the naval force reached the ship the hole was so full of smoke that the fire extinguishers could could not be successfully applied, and little could be done towards checking the fire until the engines could be brought to bear on it. From six oʻclock, the firemen, mariners and citizens worked faithfully till after noon, when the fire was apparently subdued, and the firemen returned home. About 4 p. m., however, the alarm was again sounded, the fire having appeared between the ceiling and outer planking. An hour’s work put out the last vestige of fire. Examination shows that the frame of the ship has been badly burnt, and the probability is that she has been damaged beyond repair, unless wholly rebuilt. The ship was scuttled by shots from a brass field piece, and now lies sunken alongside the wharf. A survey will of course be held on her. She was 1186 tons register, 19 or 20 years old, and owned in New York by Messrs. Howland & Frothingham. Nothing is known here regarding the origins of the fire, nor of the amount of insurance on the ship. Among those who turned out at the tap of the bell, were the King and the Prince Royal, both of whom worked with the firemen, from 4 o’clock a. m. till mid-day. Well may His Majesty be called, as he has been the “Firemen’s King.”

(Hawaiian Gazette, 6/23/1875, p. 3)


The Hawaiian Gazette, Volume XI, Number 25, Page 3. June 23, 1875.

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