Boblo Island boat owners hopeful for restoring of damaged boat

What's next for the SS Ste Claire?

DETROIT – While it looks like a shell of its former self, the co-owners of the S.S. Saint Clair say there isn't much structural damage. 

"Yeah, she's 110 years old, but she's well-built and she survived," said boat co-owner, Ron Kattoo. "We are at the point in restoration to where it was a steel skeleton structure read to be rebuilt." 

On Friday, a welding accident sparked a massive fire that destroyed the historic mahogany woodwork and upper decks. 

The welder was working on a beam that connects to the smoke stack when a spark fell to the second deck. 

"He's more devastated than anybody. Nobody should be mad at him. It was a mistake," said Kattoo. 

The owners say the boat was only insured if it sank or if the hull was significantly damaged. 

"We lost old historical wood, but we won't ask the insurance company. Because it wasn't insured, there isn't much to gain from insurance," said Kattoo. 

The Boblo boat was a beloved Detroit treasure, and since the fire the owners have been inundated with messages. 

"It's been nonstop. People are saying, 'I know you're going through a hard time, but please don't give up,'" said Kattoo. 

The owners estimate the fire caused a quarter million dollars in damages and are hoping the community can help. 

"I need help. Clearly financial, but also donate steel, paint, tools, whatever it is," said Kattoo. 

"We just really appreciate the support. We just want everyone to know we will bring it back," said co-owner Saqib Nakadar.

There is a GoFundMe page where you can go and donate to the rebuilding of the beloved boat. 

About the Author:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism