Burning Star

Yes Indeed JK, disaster abound at sea this week. Here is a little more on the Star Princess in Jamaica.

The photo had the following caption. Click on the link at the end, for the full story.

"The Star Princess cruise ship, with some clearly scorched cabins, is pictured while approaching the port of Montego Bay, in the northern coast of Jamaica, Thursday, March 23, 2006. Fire broke out in the Star Princess while on its way to the Caribbean island on Thursday, killing a passenger, injuring 11 other people and damaging some 150 cabins before the crew extinguished the flames, officials said. (The Jamaica Observer / AP)"

When I first heard the news report, I din't think much of it, the story was a bit "muted" I though it was a small cabin fire with unfortunate death. Then I saw the picture. This is a very serious fire.

It is pretty evident that at least two fire zones were involved, if not more. Maybe the pictures look worst than it is, but to me this looks like they were very lucky to have contained it at all. I hear it was a cigarette on a balcony - perhaps. Regardless, this is bound to have some profound effect on the design of ships because two things jump to my mind.

How can a balcony cigarette cause such damage. If the fire did indeed start there and spread to such a wide area, there is serious lack of fire protection on the balcony. With all these balconies now on cruise ships being the trend, maybe its an area that is vulnerable to fire spread, since there are few fire rated bulkheads, mostly glass, on that side of the ship.

The fire appears to have been contained to a specific area, but in reality, there is no reason for that kind of large area. Especially not in passenger area, sure there is lots of combustible, but the sprinkler system should have controlled a large part. I would say it carried over to at least another fire zones, which is the whole point of the design, so obviously something drastically failed - sprinkler, alarm system, or firefighting efforts.

Times Union Article