78 years ago on February 9th, 1942
The SS Normandie catches fire and capsizes into the Hudson River
The ship was docked at Pier 88 along the Hudson River, near the present-day passenger ship terminal at 46th Street. The luxury oceanliner had been seized from France days after the Pearl Harbor attack and was being converted into a U.S. military ship. The spark from a welding torch lit a fire that burned for three and a half hours since the ship's fire suppression system had been disabled during construction. The 1,029 foot ship became inundated with water and the extra weight caused the ship to tip over, eventually capsizing early the next morning. After a year of laying sideways at Pier 88, the ship was stripped of parts and righted, although it was found to be too damaged to continue the conversion and was sold as scrap, being completely dismantled just six years after the U.S. had seized it, and having never sailed as a U.S. ship.