February 11, 1942

Thousands Flee; One Dead
NEW YORK, N.Y.—The former French luxury liner SS Normandie, now christened as the USS Lafayette, caught fire in New York harbor Monday afternoon, and the ship was scuttled during the firefight. The fire has been declared an accident, not sabotage. Despite initial reports of hundreds trapped below decks, every one of the nearly twenty-two hundred workers and Navy personnel cleared the ship. Approximately two hundred persons were injured, and about half of those were hospitalized. One civilian worker is reported to have died from a fractured skull received while jumping from the ship to the dock. The $60,000,000 SS Normandie sought refuge in New York as war in Europe loomed, and she was interned there on September 3, 1939 after Germany invaded Poland. She was transferred to the U.S. Navy on December 20, 1941.

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