By Gretchen F. Coyle and Deborah C. Whitcraft: It was the great disaster of the 1930s, a horrific experience for all those aboard the ill-fated liner sailing to New York from exotic, anything-goes Cuba. The luxurious ship was filled with passengers finding escape from the Great Depression but, the night before arrival, the ship was a scene of panic as a raging fire quickly spread, killing 137 and sending many overboard. The aftermath floated onto the beach at Asbury Park, where the Jersey Shore resort town filled with rescuers, press, and curiosity-seekers. The smoldering ship became a macabre tourist attraction, and the dramatic story filled front pages for week. Controversy surrounded the tragedy and much of the mystery of the Morro Castle fire has endured.