Officials from the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department state that the cause of the fire aboard the freighter Alpena is undetermined right now, and needs further investigation because of the extensive damage the fire caused. It is believed that the fire started three decks down on the ship, a level above the engine room.
According to FOX 11 – WLUK, the fire department responded to a call of a fire aboard a ship at Bay Shipbuilding at 6 o’clock Friday night. Shortly thereafter, back-up from other area fire departments was called in. 85 firefighters responded to the scene.
The Alpena is a Great Lakes freighter that carries concrete. It arrived in Sturgeon Bay from Milwaukee last Saturday, according to Marinetraffic.com.
Constructed as a Great Lakes bulk freighter, the vessel was built by Great Lakes Engineering Works in Rouge River, MI. It was launched on Saturday, February 28th, 1942 as the steamer Leon Fraser for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co., Cleveland, OH.
Fraser Shipyards, Inc., Superior, WI acquired the vessel. On October 29th, 1989 it was moved to their yard in Superior where she was shortened 120 feet and converted to a self-unloading cement carrier for Inland Lakes Transportation, Inc. (Lafarge), Alpena, MI (now Inland Lakes Management). Inland Lakes acquired the Leon Fraser in 1990, renaming her Alpena on June 10th, 1991 returning her to active service that year.