This photo was published in the County Herald, June 17th, 1955. it was accompanied by this caption:
“Fire Drill for Mariners” Some 80 employees of the CPR’s steamship service and support employees take their annual fire fighting and safety instruction before the opening of the navigation season. Former Midlander T. C. Howard in the light jacket is now the district supervisor of safety, loss and damage.
With the fire onboard the Noronic, September 17th, 1949, still fresh in travellers minds, The CPR was investing in fire safety and making certain that the travelling public knew of this effort. The fire killed 118 and perhaps as many as 139 people in the early morning hours while Noronic was alongside Pier 9 in Toronto Harbour. In a time before sprinkler systems, public address systems, emergency lighting and effective fire extinguishers, the passengers were awoken in panic and had to find their way off the ship through dark, smoke filled passages that were quickly getting hot. The fire which was likely caused by a dropped cigarette in a linen closet, ravaged the ship and in less than an hour the metal decks were white hot and began to collapse. The victims died of smoke inhalation and severe burns, some died from leaping from the ship to the pier. Many bodies were nearly incinerated and were never identified.