Half-Hour Of Hell

March 30, 1882

An estimated 50 men, women and children died freakishly when the steamer Golden City, just pulling into harbor to dock, caught fire and, within 30 minutes, sunk at the foot of Union Avenue.

The Appeal gave a chilling account — describing the "howls of a burning menagerie … mingled with shrieks of women and children."

The following day it reported the captain of the watch had not securely fastened the bottom of his lantern and when it broke loose, fire instantly spread.

In less time than it takes to tell it the boat was ablaze and drifting helplessly down the murky, flooded river …