Parks Collection - 08 - Fire

Fires on chasers were fairly common. The engines were fueled with gasoline, and at this time the explosive nature of gas wasn't well known, and ventilation of the engine room wasn't always carried out efficiently. The fuel tanks were located below the officers' quarters, which were directly under the pilot house. the engine room was just aft of the officer's quarters.

A gasoline vapor explosion on SC 297 in San Diego on 14 April 1919 caused extensive damage, and claimed the lives of two crewmen.

Killed:

Joseph P. Chadderdon, seaman (died 16 April 1919)
Edward John Gaynor, seaman (died 18 April 1919)

Injured:

John F. Barron, machinist’s mate 1c
Walter William Conover, quartermaster 1c
Emerson Waldo Drake, fireman 3c
Thomas Paine Perrigo, quartermaster 3c
Karl Seastrom, machinist’s mate 1c
George Everett Young, electrician 2c

Fire on subchaser SC 297
Photo fire damage on subchaser SC 297, courtesy of Thomas Parks, son of SC 297 crewman James Everett Parks.