Investigators say welding spark caused massive Boblo boat fire

Posted at 11:54 AM, Jul 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-06 18:35:50-04

The Boblo Island boat, S.S. Ste Claire, was destroyed on Friday morning after a massive fire on the ship. The ship, docked at Riverside Marina on the Detroit River, caught fire after 11 a.m. on Friday.

Arson investigators say that while they have not ruled out arson, they are leaning toward accidental causes. Authorities confirm there was someone working on the boat doing some welding. 

According to a website, the S.S. Ste Claire was built in 1910. The website's last update said work on the hull and the first deck was nearing completion.

"Work is continuing on the main deck structure. We have also been working hard on the ships hull, and fresh paint has the ships hull, gunnel, and main deck looking pretty good. We are excited to have been able to get some exterior cosmetic work done giving her supporters something to look at," Project Manager Stephan Faraj wrote. "We appreciate all of the great feedback we have been getting. We are also happy to say that we are on the tail end of our dredge permit process and soon should be able to move the ship closer to shore. This will be safer for the ship as well as allow a lot more work to continue.  We have added an 80 foot banner on the port side (water side) of the ship." 

The website says that the Ste. Claire was one of the last remaining classic excursion steamers in the country. 

It took passengers to Boblo Island Amusement Park until 1991 when it was sold.

Watch our story on Boblo Boat renovations from 2016 below.