September 1, 1920 – San Pedro – “A fire in the hold of the U. S. S. hospital ship Mercy has been burning for the past three days. The fire is now rapidly being got under control, the coal being removed from the bunkers.
Early this morning the ship of Mercy was brought to the Fifth Street landing where it has been lying all day.
The fire was caused by spontaneous combustion. Commander G. A. Garton, with the officers and crew, have been fighting gallantly for the past three days and nights to prevent the spread of the flames.
At 12:30 this morning the government fire bell on the boat was sounded indicating that the fire was gaining on them.
Today at noon, however, the fire is reported to be well under control. It is thought, with the removal of the coal, that the fire can he put out and the Pacific fleet’s pride hospital ship can be saved.” (San Pedro Daily News)
Tanker, Cargo Ship Collide Near San Quentin
September 22, 1965 – San Francisco – “A fully loaded oil tanker and a cargo vessel collided in predawn darkness today in San Francisco Bay near San Quentin Prison.
Two crewmen, one a woman radio operator, were injured and fires broke out on both vessels, the 593-foot tanker Intercontinent and the 490-foot Norwegian freighter Berganger.
The collision, which occurred about 700 yards from the penitentiary left a 30-foot wide hole from the water line to the bridge in the starboard side of the Berganger. It also ripped off about 25 feet of the bow of the tanker, a Liberian flag vessel operated by Texaco Inc. The Coast Guard said the Intercontinent apparently struck the starboard beam of the Berganger.
The number of crewmen aboard the ships was not immediately known. The blaze aboard the Norwegian ship was extinguished about two hours after the collision by two fire boats from San Francisco. 10 miles to the south. A fire also broke out in the bow of the Intercontinent, but the ship appeared to be in no danger, the Coast Guard said.
Immediately after the collision, the tanker radioed for help to unload its oil. A smaller tanker went in the scene and took aboard about half of the oil. The injured were identified as Paul B. Jensen, 39, who suffered lacerations and concussions and a broken nose, and Miss Kjellaug Nelson, 27, who suffered shock. Both were members of the Berganger crew.
They were taken by Coast Guard helicopter to the U.S. Public Health Hospital in San Francisco.” (UPI)
Pioneer Ship Transformed Into S.F. Hotel
September 22, 1959 – San Francisco – “On July 5, 1849, the ship Niantic was anchored at the northwest comer of Clay and Sansome Streets in San Francisco and used as a hotel.
It was burned in the fire of 1851, but rebuilt as a hotel. The foundations of the hotel were the hull of the old ship, an English ship which sailed from Liverpool to Valparaiso in the ‘40s.
In Valparaiso, she was purchased by a Chilean merchant firm. They refitted her and sent her to Panama. She reached Panama in 1849 and was sent to San Francisco with a cargo of tropical products and 248 passengers, arriving July 5, 1849. Her crew deserted on account of “gold fever” and she was left on the hands of her consignees,.
A few months later she was sold to parties who hauled her close to the shore at that time the foot of Clay St., where she was used for offices and the upper part used as the Niantic Hotel.
In May 1851, she was burned in a fire. The building erected on the site was known as the Niantic Hotel and was considered the best hotel in the city. In 1872 the Niantic Block was erected over the hull of the ship.” (United Press)