Returning from a cruise on Moosehead Lake, the steamer "Katahdin" approaches East Cove at Greenville, Aug. 24, 2013. Credit: Brian Swartz

No one was injured when fire broke out Friday morning on the steamboat Katahdin as it cruised Moosehead Lake.

According to a report by WMTW News, the cruise had just started when a broken seal was noticed in the engine room, prompting the crew to turn the vessel back to shore.

The fire broke out on the way back, but everyone made it off the boat at the dock safely.

The Katahdin — or “The Kate” as she is more commonly known — was built by Bath Iron Works and had her maiden voyage Aug. 20, 1914.

The vessel is 115-feet long and weighs 250 tons and at its height of operations carried up to 500 passengers across Moosehead to the resort areas around Mount Kineo.

As her popularity with tourists waned with the advent of the automobile, Kate was converted into a work vessel in the 1930s and is credited with hauling 6,000 cords of pulpwood across Moosehead Lake in Maine’s last log drive in 1976.

The following year she was donated to the Moosehead Marine Museum and in 1985 again began running passenger cruises on the lake.

Over the years several philanthropists donated funds toward the ship’s upkeep and restoration including the late Elizabeth B. Noyce and the family of the late Louis O. Hilton who, last year gifted $250,000 in honor of Kate’s 100 birthday.

The most recent major repairs were performed in 2012 when the Kate’s keel was re-clad in drydock.

There was no word on the extent of the damages from Friday’s fire on board the ship or or when she would resume cruising.

“We have a wonderful maintenance staff, and if it’s something like a seal that is like, you know, like replacing the seal on one of the gaskets of your car engine or whatever, then I am sure the Katahdin will be up and running in a day or two,” Katahdin Cruises President George Edmondson told WMTW. “If it’s something major where we have to bring in the pros from the coast, then it could be more significant.”

Edmondson said crews frequently practice emergency drills for fires.

Officials said the Sunset Dance scheduled for Saturday is still a go, but they’ll hold it on shore.

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Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.