Becky Thatcher excursion boat destroyed by fire in St. Louis


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, 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.