• by Adam Grohman

U.S. Coast Guard Series - The Thames Ablaze


Each month, an interesting aspect of the world’s oldest continuous maritime service will be highlighted. The men and women of the United States Coast Guard follow in the fine tradition of the brave mariners who have served before them. As sentinels and saviors of the seas, the United States Coast Guard proudly continues its commitment to honor, respect & devotion to duty to maintain their vigil - Semper Paratus. The Thames Ablaze Mrs. Larsen hurried into their humble quarters on the Tod Estate. “Come quick,” she frantically yelled to her husband, “and bring your binoculars.” The caretaker of the estate stood up from his chair, grabbed his binoculars and joined his wife outside. The estate, located on the Connecticut coastline, was at a perfect vantage point. His wife did not have to point or explain what she had seen. Training his binoculars out over the waters of the Long Island Sound, a ship was on fire. The floating pyre, based on Mr. Larsen’s observation, was on a westward course. Suddenly the engulfed vessel turned toward the Sound’s northern coastline. As the flames leaped skyward from the decks of the ship, Mr. Larsen handed the binoculars to his wife and raced to the main house of the estate. Mrs. Tod telephoned the Sound Beach Fire Department. Meanwhile, the unknown fiery vessel continued on her course for Connecticut. Earlier in the evening, the freighter Thames had set out from Pier Thirty-Two in New York City, with her first planned stop at Norwalk, Connecticut. Facing thirty-mile hour winds and rough sea conditions, Captain Robert J. Sherman kept a steady course and speed through the Long Island Sound. As the freighter passed two miles south of Captain’s Island, the report of a fire near the smoke stack reached the bridge. Moments later, as a blanket of suffocating smoke enveloped the freighter, the once small fire had erupted into a full conflagration. There was little hope o


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