Becky Thatcher excursion boat destroyed by fire in St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS – Fire destroyed the Robert E. Lee, a riverboat that for years was a popular tourist restaurant on the St. Louis waterfront, officials said.

The riverboat burned Sunday at the Beelman River Terminal, where it had been towed for renovation, Globe-Democrat.com reported Monday. No one was injured.

Firefighters were delayed by two inoperable hydrants near the fire, which sent up a plume of smoke that could be seen for miles, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The riverboat was built in 1969 on the hull of another vessel and opened as a restaurant on the St. Louis waterfront in 1970. It remained open until 1993 and was open only sporadically after that until 2008, when it was sold to Steve Petroff, a businessman who planned to renovate it and move it to the waterfront in St. Charles, Mo.