The General Slocum was an excursion steamer built by Devine & Burtis, Brooklyn in 1891 for the Knickerbocker Steamboat Company. In June 1904, the General Slocum, with 1,360 children and their escorts met with a terrible tragedy. A fire broke out in the forward storage room, and due to the age of the fire fighting equipment was not able to be contained. Rather than dock the ship at one of the available Queen's piers, Captain van Schaick attempted to run the vessel aground at North Brother Island but ended up on the rocks before reaching the beach. Six hundred people died when the decks started to collapse, and others perished attempting to swim ashore. The U.S. Steamboat Inspection Service put the total loss of life at 938, while the New York Police Dept. put the loss at over 1,000. This was one of the worst maritime disaters in U.S. history.