Transport: Lafayette to Metal

For eight years the 25,000-ton French liner Lafayette shuttled travelers between the U. S. and France. In preparation for the summer tourist season, the Lafayette was last week getting an overhauling in the Havre drydock. One night a stoker, firing oil burners with a blow torch, accidentally set fire to some spilled mazut (fuel oil) in the stokehold.

Flames, spreading from one exploding fuel tank to another, licked rapidly upwards to the ship's luxurious superstructure. In the grand salon Guy Arnoux' lacquered panels of the Marquis de Lafayette winning the American Revolution cracked...

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