Cigarette eyed as cause of cruise blaze

The blackened outside of the Star Princess shows that the fire covered several floors of the cruise ship.

A fire apparently started by a cigarette broke out aboard a giant cruise ship early Thursday as it sailed through the moonlit Caribbean, leaving one passenger dead, 11 people injured and at least 100 rooms scorched.

The Star Princess, carrying 2,690 passengers and 1,123 crew members, bore evidence of the nighttime drama as it pulled into Montego Bay’s port. About 85 exterior cabins were blackened from the fire, a stark contrast to the otherwise gleaming white exterior of the ship. Metal was twisted, evidence of the heat of the blaze.

“We consider ourselves very lucky,” Klemens Fass, of Toronto, Canada, told The Associated Press after he and his wife were evacuated with other some passengers. “When we got out of our stateroom ... there was someone lying in the hallway passed out. He was being attended to but it was very, very scary.”

A smoldering cigarette is suspected as the cause of the blaze, said Horace Peterkin, president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, who toured the ship after it docked here.

According to MSNBC.com’s Susan Lim, who was vacationing on the Star Princess, passengers were told late Thursday afternoon that the cruise had been terminated.

Full fare to be reimbursed Lim also reported that Princess Cruises had sent letters to passengers stating that full cruise fares and air transportation will be reimbursed. Passengers who booked air transportation separately were advised to fill out a form and state their destination cities. Princess will arrange flights for Friday and Saturday, Lim reported.

Also, two charter flights have been arranged for Friday morning, with 138 seats from Montego Bay to Fort Lauderdale, and an additional 250 seats for passengers traveling from Montego Bay to Atlanta. People living in those areas will likely be assigned to those flights.

Passengers grabbed life jackets and raced to “muster stations” after the fire started about 3 a.m., said Julie Benson, spokeswoman for Princess Cruises, which is owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp. The crew put out the fire, then did a cabin-by-cabin search to check for victims and make sure everyone else was safe, she said.

Richard Liffidge, 75, of Georgia, collapsed and died on deck, said Karl Angell, communications director for the Jamaican police. Benson said the passenger died after suffering cardiac arrest. But Peterkin said an autopsy would be performed to determine the cause of death.

Liffidge’s wife was taken to a hospital in Montego Bay, Angell said. There was no immediate word on what she was being treated for or her condition.

A company statement said two passengers suffered “significant smoke inhalation injuries” and nine others had “minor complications.”

Benson said the company has reached no conclusions about the cause of the blaze.

She said about 100 cabins were affected by the fire, though Peterkin put the number at around 150.

The Star Princess was sailing from Grand Cayman to Jamaica when the blaze started. Reportedly built at a cost of over $430 million, it has four swimming pools, a half-dozen restaurants and dining rooms, a casino, two theaters, and several nightclubs. It stretches about three football fields long.

Running out in nightgowns Zach Bramlage, 19, of Columbus, Ohio, was having a late-night meal when word spread that there was a fire.

“Some people just ran in where we were eating and told us the ship is on fire and we got our life vests real quick and headed downstairs,” Bramlage said. “I was pretty scared initially but the captain came over the (intercom) and told us everything was going to be all right.”

Hours after the ship arrived in Montego Bay before noon, passengers boarded buses that took them to hotels in the nearby resort towns of Negril and Ocho Rios. Other passengers remained on board.

David Haltom was on his honeymoon when he and his bride awoke in their cabin, smelling smoke and hearing people running in the halls yelling fire.

“Everybody ran. There were people in nightgowns and robes because it happened so fast,” Haltom said by phone from his Negril hotel. The crew lowered lifeboats to the ship deck and instructed passengers to grab their life vests, he said.

After the blaze was extinguished, passengers were allowed to retrieve belongings from their cabins, some blackened from smoke.

“You saw people bringing out clothes in bags and they were black, their hands and their faces were black,” he said.

The fire melted locks on some of the cabins and burned some passengers’ luggage, Lim reported from the ship.

Investigation in progress The U.S. Coast Guard dispatched investigators and fire engineers to help determine the fire’s cause and whether the ship was seaworthy, Coast Guard Petty Officer James Judge said in Miami. Teams were expected to arrive Thursday afternoon.

“Our No. 1 concern right now is safety,” Judge said.

The ship was not seriously damaged and would sail back to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Friday, Peterkin said. There was no immediate confirmation from officials at the cruise line.

The Star Princess sailed from Fort Lauderdale on March 19.

Emma Cruises

Star Princess Fire (2006) – Pictures, Cause, and Safety Improvements

In March of 2006, the Star Princess was sailing just off the coast of Jamaica. She had 3813 people on board in total and as far as everybody was concerned, this was a totally normal cruise. 

What Caused The 2006 Fire on The Star Princess?

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch concluded that the cause of the fire of the Star Princess in 2006 was mostly likely a cigarette butt drops from a balcony. The cigarette butt set fire to the balcony furniture, partitions, and flooring causing the fire to spread rapidly.

At the time, smoking on a balcony was allowed but throwing cigarette butts obviously wasn’t. Guests were told to put their cigarettes out in an ashtray.

Maybe the person dropped it, or intentionally threw it, nobody knows. 

Leaving Personal Items on The Balcony is Always Against The Rules

The cigarette butt didn’t immediately burst into flames but it smoldered for around 20 minutes on the balcony. It isn’t clear if there were other items on the balcony but there may have been. 

Cruise lines do tell guests not to leave anything on the balcony but often people will leave clothes on here to dry or they may just forget to bring things in when they come in from sitting on the balcony.

In this situation, a book or a towel could cause a BIG problem, as the ship was sailing near Jamaica the temperature was 25c (77f) and the humidity was 92%.

If this had happened somewhere cold, the cigarette may never have caught fire in the way that it did. 

On most cruise ships now if you leave things on your balcony your cabin attendant will bring them back into the cabin for you. That’s just one of the things that has changed in recent years.

The First Report of a Possible Fire Happened on Deck 14

It was just before 3 AM that a crew member smelt burning on deck 14. The area was checked and they didn’t find a fire.

A little later a guest staying in cabin B2541 set off the fire alarm after they saw the glow of the fire from their balcony. 

star princess deck plan of fire 2006

The fire started on a balcony on deck 10 but because of the high winds once the fire took hold it spread very fast. It spread along the ship and also up to decks 11 and 12. 

A little after 3 AM the captain decided to slow the ship down and to change course slightly in order to reduce the winds.

At 03:20 the general emergency alarm was sounded.

On every cruise ship it is a legal requirement that all guests complete an emergency drill when they embark. the ship. Thanks to this the guests knew what they needed to do when they heard the alarm. The guests grabbed their life jackets and went to their muster stations. 

To learn more about what happens at a muster drill, and how these have changed since the Coronavirus pandemic, check out this post: Muster Drills Have Changed For The Better (REVIEW of New After Covid Process)

The lifeboats and liferafts were prepared as a precaution. 

The below shows where the fire started and where it spread to.

star princess map of fire spread

The Guests Attended Their Muster Stations as Instructed

A person who was on board at the time said the following:

“When we reached the 11th floor, we saw someone come through the closed fire door on the port side of the ship, when the door opened, a floor-to-ceiling THICK BLACK cloud of smoke came pouring out and down the hall.”

The guest goes on to say that:

“As we headed down to our muster station, we noticed that crew members were ALREADY STATIONED on all the floors at the stairwells to guide passengers down. The speed at which these crew members reached their assigned “posts” was phenomenal.”

I think it’s important to mention just how highly the guests praised the crew of the ship for dealing with this situation.

The crew guided to guests to safety, entertained them, fed them, and generally made sure that everybody was okay.

I’m sure they were also scared but the guests onboard reported how calm and organised everything was. 

Balcony Doors Shattered

The heat from the fire on the balconies was so hot that it shattered the glass in some of the balcony doors and the fire spread into the cabins.

It was later determined that the balcony cabin doors weren’t the self-closing type and this is something that should have been in place and is now on.

The passengers in cabins 316 and 322 on deck C were in their rooms when the glass smashed, I can’t even imagine how scary how must have been.

The glass used in the balcony doors was double glazed with a thickness of 25mm which had been impact tested but was not fire rated.

The cabins are built in big metal boxes so thankfully the spread of the fire was limited when it came to the inside of the ship. The cruise line also stopped the ventilation inside the cabins to slow down the fire. 

star princess 2006 fire balconies burnt

The Smoke Was The Biggest Problem

Although the fire didn’t spread, the smoke still did, the smoke was the biggest problem for the guests trying to evacuate, and the crew trying to make sure everybody was out of the area.

The balcony partitions and balcony furniture were burning and creating a cloud of thick smoke. The partitions were built of ​​polycarbonate and the tiles on the floor were made of polyurethane. 

The balconies were classified as ‘outside spaces’ so they had slightly different requirements when it came to fire safety. The partitions and tiles wouldn’t have been able to be used inside the ship because of the smoke they make when they are burnt.

The idea of a fire starting on the balcony wasn’t really something that cruise lines had thought too much about.

On cruise ships, the crew have to complete fire safety drills and have plans in place but there wasn’t a ‘fire on the balcony’ drill that was carried out.

star princess smoke damage inside ship after 2006 fire

Do Cruise Ships Have Fire Crews and Fire Equipment onboard?

All modern cruise ships are equipped with fire safety gear and crew members whose job it is to tackle the fire. The equipment includes multiple sets of safety clothing, breathing apparatus, and hoses used to put out the fires.a

These will be crew members who have other jobs onboard, they don’t keep a full fire brigade on board just in case but they have had a lot of training and I think they deserve a lot of praise for how they dealt with this fire. 

Don’t Cruise Ships Have Spinklers?

If you have cruised on a modern cruise ship you might be wondering why the balcony sprinklers didn’t go off.

Most new cruise ships will have fire detection devices and sprinklers on the balconies in the case of a fire like this happening.

Back in 2006, this wasn’t standard on cruise ships and the Star Princess didn’t have any on the balconies. There were mist systems inside the ship but they didn’t really work as planned. 

Sprinklers and detectors were added to the Star Princess’s balconies before she set sail again making her safer than ever before. 

What Changes Were Made After The Accident?

After the fire Carnival Corporation who own Princess Cruises made changes to all of their ships, removing the flammable partitions and tiles as well as adding new sprinklers.

This happened on 81 ships in total which is 26,400 balconies. 

Although it’s sad that this tragedy happened, the improvements to cruise ship safety that came, as a result, may have saved many more lives.

The Fire Burnt For Over an Hour

The fire spread for 1.5 hours and in total 297 cabins were damaged or destroyed.

The Star Princess had 1298 cabins in total meaning that 23% of the ship’s cabins were damaged. 

The ship’s crew used 7 rigged hoses to fight the fire, due to the location this was difficult as the partitions on the balconies were still in place.

The fire was mostly fought from the inside of the cabins and the broken parts of the balconies. 

One passenger who was found unconscious died of smoke inhalation and 13 others had to be treated for the effects of the smoke. It was around 4.30 that the fire was declared as being officially out.

close up of balconies burnt on the sky princess in the 2006 fire

Following the disaster, a number of safety improvements were made to the ship and cruise ships of the future. The aim was to make sure that the balconies were held to the same high fireproof standards as the rest of the ship was. 

If the balconies were of the same fire safety quality as the internal areas of the ship it’s very unlikely that this fire would have caused the damage that it did. 

After The Event, Princess Created Mock Balcony Fires (In Controlled Enviroments)

After the accident, the Princess did some tests.

They set up a pretend balcony and wanted to see how fast a fire would spread on the current materials.

They set fire to a towel on the back of a chair and it only took 2 minutes 22 seconds for the privacy panel between the balconies to be on fire and 3 minutes before the floor was on fire. 

If a fire like this were to happen again it’s likely that the balcony fire detectors would notice the fire very quickly, the sprinklers would be activated and the fire wouldn’t ever spread beyond the single balcony.

Changes have been made since the accident about the materials that the dividers and balcony furniture can be made of. 

The Next Morning The Ship Docked

It was around 10 am in the morning that the ship arrived in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The guests were at this point allowed to return to their cabins if they were on the starboard side of the ship. Amazingly when the guests were allowed to leave the muster station the crew had made sure that breakfast was ready for them. 

The guests whose rooms had been damaged by the fire were disembarked and taken to a hotel.

star princess 2006 fire balconies burnt side view

Guests Were Well Compensated

All passengers were given a full refund for the cruise and had their airfare paid for to get them home, they were also given 25% of their cruise fare as a credit to use on another cruise. 

Temporary repairs were made before the ship headed over to Germany to be prepared properly. 

Smoking Was Later Banned on Princess Ships

In 2012 Princess banned smoking on balconies completely. The majority of other cruise lines did the same around this time but Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises, TUI Cruises, and Fred Olsen cruises still allow guests to smoke on their balconies.

To learn more about the smoking policies of the above cruise lines, check out this post: Cruise Line Balcony Smoking Policies – On These 4 Lines You Can

Whenever I talk about smoking being allowed on cruise ship balconies some people will always that it’s ‘disgusting’ or that it’d put them off cruising with a cruise line but despite what feels like the majority wanting smokeless balconies, there are a few very determined, and vocal people who want to be able to smoke on their balconies. 

Smoking on Balconies is Still a Debated Issue

Some people argue that ships should have smoking balconies, and non-smoking balconies but that really only deals with the problem of secondhand smoke.

Which although not nice, it isn’t as big a problem as the fire risk.

It could be argued that it wasn’t the smoking on the balcony that caused the fire but the fact that the smoker threw their cigarette butt overboard.

The thing is though, if you take away the cigarettes from the balconies, they are far less likely to end up starting a fire in this way. 

I don’t smoke and never have but I would hope that most people would agree that reducing the risk of something like this happening is always a good idea. 

When the cruise line was analysing the accident they talked to other passengers and found that many said that discarded cigarette ends had also landed on their balconies. It’s unlikely that this was an isolated event, it was just the first time it had gone this wrong.

As far as I can see, the person who started the fire was never found.

The starting point of the fire wasn’t ever conclusively found but all analysis of the accident decided that in the absence of any other evidence, it was probably a cigarette butt dropped from a higher deck.

princess cruise fire 2006

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Fire Aboard Cruise Ship Kills 1 Passenger, Injures 11

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For the last 21 years, the cruise industry found comfort in the fact that accidents aboard ships at sea had not resulted in the death of a passenger.

That record ended Thursday with a fatal fire on a Princess Cruises ship that killed one man and left 11 passengers suffering smoke inhalation.

The fire started about 3:10 a.m. in a passenger area as the 109,000-ton Star Princess was en route from Grand Cayman Island to Montego Bay, Jamaica. At least 100 cabins were damaged before the fire was extinguished.

Jamaican police identified the dead man as Richard Liffidge, 75, of Georgia. In a statement, Princess Cruises said heart failure was the cause of death.

“This is the first time such a tragedy has occurred in the history of our company, and we are devastated,” the Princess statement said.

The ship was carrying 2,690 passengers who were roused from bed and asked to report to their muster stations.

Zach Bramlage, 19, of Columbus, Ohio, was having a late-night meal when word spread of a fire.

“Some people just ran in where we were eating and told us the ship is on fire, and we got our life vests real quick and headed downstairs,” Bramlage said. “I was pretty scared initially, but the captain came over the [intercom] and told us everything was going to be all right.”

By midmorning Thursday, the fire was fully extinguished, a Princess spokesperson said, but residual smoke remained in areas that suffered damage.

The seven-night cruise that originated in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday has been cut short, and the ship’s next cruise canceled. Passengers will be flown home from Jamaica over the next two days with full refunds, a spokesman said.

Relatives of the ship’s passengers can call (800) 693-7222 for more information, the cruise line said.

“There will be lessons learned, and we will apply those lessons,” said Michael Crye, president of the International Council of Cruise Lines. The fire prevention systems worked as intended to stop the spread of the fire, he said.

The Coast Guard was sending three officers to help find the cause of the fire, and a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board said it was also sending an investigator. The main investigation falls to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch, which is based in London, because the ship is registered in Bermuda.

The last time a cruise ship accident caused a passenger’s death was in August 1984, when the Scandinavian Sun caught fire as it entered the Port of Miami, killing Florida resident Colleen Skantar.

Since then, ships have been grounded, have caught fire and have collided with other vessels in accidents, injuring passengers and killing crew members but not resulting in the death of any passengers until Thursday.

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MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- A fire broke out Thursday on the Jamaica-bound Star Princess cruise ship, and one person died of a heart attack, according to cruise line officials.

Two people suffered significant smoke inhalation and nine others had "minor complications from smoke inhalation," said a statement from Princess Cruises, which is owned by Carnival Corp.

The Star Princess, with 3,813 passengers and crew, was en route to Montego Bay, Jamaica, after departing Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Sunday, Princess said.

"We are currently completing a full passenger check to account for all passengers and crew," the statement said.

The fire began around 3:10 a.m. in the passenger accommodations, according to the cruise line. ( Watch the damage done by the fire -- :42 )

Princess: Flames extinguished

The flames were extinguished but smoke lingers, Princess said, and the cause of the fire is not yet known.

Officials said the vessel was carrying 2,690 passengers and 1,123 crew.

The blaze affected passenger decks 9 through 12, about 100 cabins, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Ryan Doss.

The Princess statement said, "Passengers were immediately notified of the fire using the public address system and requested to report to their muster stations."

Family members of passengers can call 1-800-693-7222 for information.

The Coast Guard said it is sending a fire protection engineer, an inspector and an investigating officer to Montego Bay to begin an investigation into the incident.

Fire on cruise ship kills 1, injures 11

princess cruise fire 2006

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica — A fire possibly started by a cigarette broke out aboard a giant cruise ship early Thursday as it sailed through the moonlit Caribbean, leaving one passenger dead, 11 people injured and at least 100 rooms scorched.

The Star Princess, carrying 2,690 passengers and 1,123 crew members, bore evidence of the nighttime drama as it pulled into Montego Bay's port. About 85 exterior cabins were blackened by the fire, a stark contrast to the otherwise gleaming white exterior of the ship. Metal was twisted, evidence of the heat of the blaze.

"We consider ourselves very lucky," Klemens Fass of Toronto, Canada, said after he and his wife were evacuated with other some passengers. "When we got out of our stateroom ... there was someone lying in the hallway passed out. He was being attended to, but it was very, very scary."

A smoldering cigarette is suspected as the cause of the blaze, said Horace Peterkin, president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, who toured the ship after it docked here.

Passengers grabbed life jackets and raced to "muster stations" after the fire started about 3 a.m., said Julie Benson, spokeswoman for Princess Cruises, which is owned by Miami-based Carnival.

The crew put out the fire, then did a cabin-by-cabin search to check for victims and make sure everyone else was safe, she said.

Richard Liffidge, 75, of Georgia collapsed and died on deck, said Karl Angell, communications director for the Jamaican police. Peterkin said an autopsy would be performed to determine the cause of death.

Liffidge's wife was taken to a hospital in Montego Bay, Angell said. There was no immediate word on what she was being treated for or her condition.

A company statement said two passengers suffered "significant smoke inhalation injuries" and nine others had "minor complications."

Benson said the company has reached no conclusions about the cause of the blaze.

She said about 100 cabins were affected by the fire, though Peterkin put the number at around 150.

The Star Princess, which docked in Seattle in May 2002 and 19 times in 2003, according to Port of Seattle records, was sailing from Grand Cayman to Jamaica when the blaze started. Reportedly built at a cost of over $430 million, it has four swimming pools, a half-dozen restaurants and dining rooms, a casino, two theaters and several nightclubs. It stretches about three football fields long.

Hours after the ship arrived in Montego Bay before noon, passengers boarded buses that took them to hotels in the nearby resort towns of Negril and Ocho Rios. Other passengers remained on board.

David Haltom was on his honeymoon when he and his bride awoke in their cabin, smelling smoke and hearing people yelling and running in the halls.

"Everybody ran. There were people in nightgowns and robes because it happened so fast," Haltom said by phone from his Negril hotel. The crew lowered lifeboats to the ship deck and instructed passengers to grab their life vests, he said.

After the blaze was extinguished, passengers were allowed to retrieve belongings from their cabins, some blackened from smoke.

"You saw people bringing out clothes in bags and they were black, their hands and their faces were black," he said.

The U.S. Coast Guard dispatched investigators and fire engineers to help determine the fire's cause and whether the ship was seaworthy, Coast Guard Petty Officer James Judge said in Miami. Teams were expected to arrive Thursday afternoon.

"Our No. 1 concern right now is safety," Judge said.

The ship was not seriously damaged and would sail back to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., today, Peterkin said. There was no immediate confirmation from officials at the cruise line.

The Star Princess sailed from Fort Lauderdale on Sunday.

The Seattle Times staff contributed to this report.

Cigarette caused fatal ship fire, says authorities

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The Star Princess was en route from Grand Cayman to Jamaica when the blaze started at about 3 a.m., according to a statement from Princess Cruises, which is owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp.

Richard Liffidge, 75, of Georgia, collapsed and died on deck, said Karl Angell, communications director for the Jamaica Constabulary Force. The victim’s wife was taken to a hospital in Montego Bay.

Two passengers suffered “significant smoke inhalation injuries” and nine others had “minor complications,” the cruise company said in a statement. Two people were hospitalized in Montego Bay and two others were being treated in the ship’s clinic, Jamaica’s disaster office said.

Horace Peterkin, president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, toured the scorched ship after it docked in Jamaica and said crew members told him the fire apparently started on a cabin balcony. A cigarette was suspected of causing the fire, which damaged about 150 cabins, Peterkin told The Associated Press.

The ship was carrying 2,690 passengers and 1,123 crew members.

The Princess Cruises Web site said the Star Princess has more than 700 balcony staterooms and four pools.

Peterkin said 550 passengers whose cabins were damaged will be moved to two hotels in nearby Negril and Ocho Rios. The cruise ship company was arranging to fly other passengers home, he said.

The ship was not seriously damaged and will sail back to Fort Lauderdale on Friday, Peterkin said. There was no immediate confirmation from cruise line officials.

Star Princess sailed from Fort Lauderdale on March 19.

“The ship is seaworthy,” Peterkin said. “They’ll sail out tomorrow.” The fire-blackened Star Princess docked in Montego Bay just before noon. No smoke was seen coming from the vessel as rescue personnel boarded. All passengers remained on the ship and some were seen milling on the decks.

The starboard side of the ship, which faced dockside, showed no damage. But dozens of cabins on the other side appeared to be charred.

The U.S. Coast Guard dispatched investigators and fire engineers to help in the probe, Coast Guard Petty Officer James Judge said in Miami.

“Our No. 1 concern right now is safety,” Judge said.

Because the Star Princess carries a Bermuda flag, the lead investigative agency will be Britain’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch, but the Coast Guard will “participate as a substantially interested state,” Judge said.

The Coast Guard regularly inspects all cruise ships that embark U.S. passengers. The Star Princess was last inspected on Oct. 25, 2005, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and had “no outstanding discrepancies,” Judge said. That included a successful fire drill and abandon-ship drill.

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Cruise Ship Fire

March 24, 2006 / 3:55 PM EST / CBS News

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Orlando Sentinel

Ship passengers recall terror during Star…

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Ship passengers recall terror during Star Princess blaze

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One of the 2,688 Princess Cruises passengers said he thought the fire alarm was his wake-up call for an early morning golf excursion. Another said she thought her husband had accidentally hit the remote and turned on the television.

But they and their fellow passengers quickly realized that the luxury cruise liner was on fire.

They threw life vests on over their pajamas, grabbed their passports and fled through smoky hallways to emergency stations where they remained for the next seven hours.

One man was killed and 11 people were injured in the blaze, which tore through more than 100 cabins before being extinguished.

“I thought I wasn’t going to make it,” said Andrea Isser, 22, a teacher from Delray Beach.

Jerry Levy of Winter Park looked out his 10th-floor cabin window and saw flaming pieces of fiberglass and plastic streaming down like molten lava.

Outside his cabin door, passengers crawled through the hallway on their hands and knees to avoid billowing smoke. Levy returned to his room Thursday afternoon to find it completely blackened.

“It looked like a lot of stuff was just liquefied,” he said.

The Star Princess left Fort Lauderdale on March 19 on a seven-day Caribbean voyage. The blaze began about 3 a.m. Thursday as the ship sailed from Grand Cayman to Jamaica. Richard Liffridge, 72, of Georgia, died from cardiac arrest, according to Princess Cruises. Of the 11 people who suffered smoke-inhalation injuries, two are still hospitalized.

Earl Goldberg, a retired pilot from Fort Lauderdale, said he awoke to the sounds of people in the hallway. When he turned on his television to the ship’s closed-circuit network, he saw smoke streaming over the ship’s bow.

He shook his wife and told her to get dressed. Moments later, the fire alarm sounded, and crew members told passengers to evacuate to emergency stations.

“When you heard the captain come on the PA in the middle of the night, you knew this was not a drill,” he said.

A smoldering cigarette is suspected as the cause of the fire, but Princess Cruises spokeswoman Julie Benson said authorities were still investigating.

Princess Cruises, which is owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp., canceled the remainder of the cruise and sent passengers home with full refunds and discounts to use on their next cruise.

A charter flight carrying 140 travelers arrived Friday morning at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport from Montego Bay.

Weary passengers relived the shock of donning life jackets and hearing lifeboats lowered into the water.

“It was pretty intense. You could smell smoke,” said Steve Saccucci, 57, of Davenport. “We were actually concerned that we might in fact have to hit the lifeboats.”

Jean Bromer of Lawrenceville, N.J., said the Star Princess had been her first cruise. For Bromer’s cousins, Ruth and Al Licata of Deerfield Beach, it was number 26.

Despite the scare, the Licatas said the experience would not keep them off future cruises. They praised cruise officials for their handling of the emergency and said the ship’s captain came on the public-announcement system regularly to update passengers on the situation.

Goldberg said he is already booked on another trip aboard the Star Princess in April.

“If they have that ship operating, we will be back on it,” he said.

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National Briefing | South: Florida: Cruise Passengers Go Home After Fire

By The Associated Press

  • March 25, 2006

Princess Cruises, part of Carnival P.L.C., is sending more than 2,600 passengers home from Jamaica with full refunds after a fire on the Star Princess. The fire left a Georgia man dead and 11 other people injured. All were expected to fly out today, said Paul Pennicook, the Jamaican tourism director. The fire, possibly caused by a smoldering cigarette, broke out early Thursday. The man who died, Richard Liffridge, 72, of Locust Grove, collapsed on deck, an official said, adding that the cause of death was not known.

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DEADLY CRUISE BLAZE BLAMED ON CIGARETTE,…

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Deadly cruise blaze blamed on cigarette, plastic partitions.

In a final report, the Marine Accident Investigations Branch also said the fire spread quickly because of its location — on a balcony where plastic partitions fed the flames. The incident revealed a blind spot in the maritime industry’s longstanding fire code regulations, which do not apply to balconies.

Speculation about the source of the 90-minute fire centered on a cigarette, but Monday’s report is the first official confirmation.

The agency did not recommend cruise ships ban or regulate smoking, but instead focused on removing from balcony areas any materials that could burn.

The 3 a.m. fire on Star Princess, en route from Grand Cayman to Montego Bay, Jamaica, injured 13 passengers and generated clouds of thick smoke.

According to the marine agency report, passenger Richard Liffridge, 72, died from smoke inhalation.

The fire took about 20 minutes to get started, and within another six minutes had spread from one deck to three, and across the length of three of the ship’s seven fire zones — subdivisions designed to contain shipboard fires.

The heat shattered glass in stateroom balcony doors, but fire-smothering systems stopped the blaze from moving inside. In all, 79 cabins were destroyed and another 218 had some fire, smoke or water damage.

Star Princess is registered in Bermuda, a British overseas territory.

In a statement issued Monday, Princess Cruises, a subsidiary of Miami-based Carnival Corp., again apologized to the 2,690 passengers and 1,123 crewmembers on the March 23 cruise. It acknowledged shortcomings in some aspects of its response, but said it has followed every recommendation from the safety agency.

Those included replacement of combustible furniture, floor tiles and privacy dividers on outside verandas, more specialized training for crews, and new fire detection and suppression systems on balconies.

“We have striven to do everything in our power to ensure a similar incident could never happen again,” the statement said.

In its report, the safety agency said that although the four-year-old Star Princess met all the international fire codes, the codes didn’t apply to balcony areas. For example, glass in the balcony doors is not fire resistant, and balconies cross fire zones, which can be sealed to contain fires inside the ship.

After the fire, Princess Cruises posted a bridge watch to monitor balconies for fires around the clock. Those watches were dropped as the company implemented new safety measures, spokeswoman Julie Benson said.

Although the daughter of the man who died on the Star Princess has campaigned to ban smoking on cruise ships, Benson said Princess Cruises has not taken any steps to curb the practice. “We believe it is impractical to have a no-smoking policy,” she said. Instead, language has been added during the initial safety drill attended by all passengers about the need to put out smoking materials properly. The line also puts printed warnings in each cabin, Benson said.

Tom Stieghorst can be reached at [email protected] or call 305-810-5008.

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princess cruise fire 2006

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  • Marine Accident Investigation Branch reports

Fire starts and spreads via balconies of passenger cruise ship Star Princess with loss of 1 life

Location: Off Jamaica.

Accident Investigation Report 28/2006

Star Princess.pdf (3,518.42 kb)

Annexes (4,239.34 kb)

Report on the investigation of the fire on board Star Princess off Jamaica on 23 March 2006.

Published: 23 October 2006

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Survivor Recalls Cruise Ship Fire

March 24, 2006 — -- Dr. Philip Shields was in his cruise ship cabin on the Star Princess early Thursday morning, when loud noises woke him up. He went out to his balcony and saw a large fire about 50 yards to the right. He got his wife and son, and left the cabin immediately.

"They were lowering the lifeboats as we were going to the various stations for disembarkment, so there was quite a bit of fear," Shields said.

Passengers were immediately notified of the fire over the public address system, and they were told to report to their muster stations, according to a statement released by Princess Cruises.

Fortunately, the 2,690 passengers and 1,123 crew members didn't have to abandon ship. Shields praised the crew -- calling them "excellent" -- for keeping the passengers safe during the fire.

"Their drills worked perfectly. We went to our stations in an orderly fashion, and I think it saved the lives of everybody onboard," he said.

One person died in the fire -- Richard Liffidge, 75, of Georgia, who suffered a heart attack -- and 11 others were injured. Two passengers suffered significant smoke inhalation and nine suffered minor injuries, according to Princess Cruises.

When Shields returned to his cabin, he was shocked by the damage the fire had caused.

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"I never anticipated that it would involve our cabin," he said. "The walls were melted. The TV was melted. The bed we were lying in was burned. All our things were destroyed. It was quite an ordeal."

At least 100 rooms were scorched.

All Shields had left were the clothes he was wearing -- and barely that.

"They were pretty filthy by the time we got to the hotel."

Shields and his family are now staying at a hotel in Jamaica. Star Princess sailed from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on March 19 on a western Caribbean itinerary with calls at Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay and Princess Cays.

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  • Princess Cruises

Fire on the Star Princess

By pattison , March 23, 2006 in Princess Cruises

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20,000+ Club

For the time being, we should extend our prayers and wishes to those passengers and crew who were directly affected by the fire and we should give thanks that the emergency procedures appear to have worked so well and that injuries and the one death (attributed to heart failure) were limited. Lets also hope that for a good while we won't have to read any posts asking how to skip the mandatory lifeboat muster.

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jaybyrd3007

jaybyrd3007

We had a major house fire and you dont think big things can catch on fire with small things, heck sometimes its hard to start a fire in the fireplace, but once it starts is spreads VERY VERY fast and the temp goes very high.

Someone already posted this but I imagine this ship smells very bad right now. Princess will prob have to remove alot of carpet, wallpaper etc.

Junior Member

we stayed in one of those rooms in January...my heart is so sad.

KansasScrapper

KansasScrapper

So far it doesn’t appear to be the cruise line or cruise ships fault. So actually they don’t have to do anything. That is a good reason you should by the travel insurance. You never know when something will happen that is out of everyone’s control.

5,000+ Club

Did you see the pictures of the ship? More than a "few" cabins were involved and many balcony rails seem to have melted away. How about letting the authorities investigate the incident completely, determine what started the fire and why and how it spread to involve so many cabins, and then what fueled the fire with the intensity that caused the damage to the balconies that is evident from just an external view? How did the fire spread from balcony to balcony, room to room? Were there flammable materials present on the balconies? Were bedding, drapes and carpet fire-resistent? A lot of questions have to be answered before this ship can be allowed to carry passengers again and until those facts have been established it would be foolhardy to insist that the ship should just block off the damaged area and continue sailing. The answers to some of the questions might even effect other ships currently sailing.
I totally agree. The biggest question that needs to be answered is why the sophisticated fire detection and suppression systems (sprinklers) required by SOLAS on all modern cruise ships did not confine the fire to the cabin of origin?

Firefighterhoop

Is the ship built from flammable material? How could the fire spread so fast and cosume so much? Now I read that 150 cabins were damaged or/and distroyed. Okay Fox News where are you?

When the ship is moving it produces a wind, just from moving, the introduction of air into a fire makes it bigger, and will blow the flames. That is probabally how it spread from balcony to balcony so fast.

Now each balcony has at least some things that can burn (chairs, things people put on it, the flooring, and the plastic/glass looking stuff that surrounds the balconys.

shipcafe

I am of the school of thought that the flames would have licked up and out of the verandahs up to the one above it. The materials on the verandahs are highly flammable and (to my knowledge) I have never seen sprinkler or Hi-Fog heads out on the verandahs. You can see how the verandahs are tiered on these ships and how this would be possible.

I find it hard to believe that the fire was completely internal given the smoke detectors, sprinklers (or Hi-Fog), and fire doors. Small fires are detected and put out all the time on ships ... many more than we even know of publicly.

Can this be a pending new measure for ships? .... Sprinkler and Hi-Fog heads installed on verandahs?

Again, the sprinklers will not control a fire moving on the outside of a ship.. If the current speculation pans out, that a cigerette on a balcony started it, here is my hypothesis as to what happened.

The Origional balcony started on fire. There are no sprinklers on a balcony. The ship was headed at a resonable speed for Jamaica, creating it's own wind. This wind helped the fire spread from balcony to balcony with nothing to stop it. Fire burns UP, thus causing more balconies above it to catch on fire.

It doesn't matter when the first cabin caught on fire. Only at the time that the sprinkler head in each cabin got hot enough, did it activate, (The heads activate independantly when each one gets hot) And the sprinkler's in each cabin only assist in extinguishing the fire in that cabin, while the balconies are still burning, and the fire is still entering other cabins, their sprinkler systems burn, etc etc etc.

You have several things that burn in the cabin - The drapes, the carpet, the beds, etc etc.. Once it got hot enough to get into the cabin (Either by melting the glass on the door, or at times people sleep with the balcony door open, the fire is already free burning in the cabin before the sprinkler activates.

The sprinkler system is what saved the other cabins on the ship... As I said before, the fire probabally did not spread from Cabin to Cabin. It spread from Balcony To balcony, and then from Balcony to Cabin. This scenario has played out in many hotel and appartment fires across the country.

Just my professional opinion

I am of the school of thought that the flames would have licked up and out of the verandahs up to the one above it. The materials on the verandahs are highly flammable and (to my knowledge) I have never seen sprinkler or Hi-Fog heads out on the verandahs. You can see how the verandahs are tiered on these ships and how this would be possible.   I find it hard to believe that the fire was completely internal given the smoke detectors, sprinklers (or Hi-Fog), and fire doors. Small fires are detected and put out all the time on ships ... many more than we even know of publicly.   Can this be a pending new measure for ships? .... Sprinkler and Hi-Fog heads installed on verandahs?

It could, but the balcony would have to be surrounded on all sides - otherwise flames could still go up and over. It may help slow a fire though..

You are correct, this ship has a sprinkler system, however, the fire appears to have started outside the ship area on the balcony, more than likely spreading balcony to balcony and then impinging on the staterooms. Each sprinker is operated independantly, and not firing until that sprinker head reaches the right temperature to melt the "Stop" and the water - or in the ships case high pressure mist, starts to flow.   That being said, back to the theory of the fire starting outside working it's way in. Picture a big appartment building, a fire starts on a 4th story deck, it will burn the decks outside, while working its way in. By the time it made it's way into the first room, with the speed of the ship producing a wind to fuel the fire, several balconys may have already ignited. Several people sleep with their door open, and some closed, so It may have taken a while for the first room to catch on fire. (probabally the first room to have the door open) The fire probabally did not spread room to room, but did more then likely spread from balcony to balcony and from balcony to room which activated the sprinkers individually, controlling it in each room.

If the fire started on the balcony, and we don't know that for sure yet, what is there on any balcony that would provide enough fuel for a fire to enable it to spread from deck to deck, 2 chairs and a small table? It would appear that such extensive fire spread would necessitate the fire engulfing the contents of the cabin which again raises the question of why the sprinklers did not control the intensity of the fire? By the way, I am a retired fire officer FDNY, and not a lawyer as some may suspect.

You do have a point about needing a sizeable fire load, now paint this picture in your head, small things on balcony ignite -sending sparks to several balconies,

Those balconies slowly ignite, finding the first one with an open door to the cabin, which at that point, starts to ignite drapes, carpeting and several other things to cause even more sparks. Because the door is open, it is a vented fire being force fed by wind, which is going to yes, set the sprinklers, but also take longer to do so. (Obviously not much longer, but long enought to get hot enough to spread while the balconies keep going up, and the wind keeps spreading the flames), and then what I said about going into each room, plays out..

Mrs. Flamed FXSTC

This is directly from the statement on Princess Cruises website. It was posted at 2:00 pm PST. I know there were a couple of folks trying to find out what the state of their upcoming cruise is and hadn't seen anyone post this info yet.

"The following cruise, scheduled to depart Fort Lauderdale on March 26, will also be cancelled. Similarly, passengers booked on this sailing will receive a full refund, the same 25 percent credit towards a future cruise, and Princess will additionally cover out-of-pocket travel expenses as a result of the change.

Over the course of the next few days we will fully assess damage caused by the fire and plan to make the necessary temporary repairs to enable the ship to maintain its onward schedule. A plan for the repairs to the affected cabins will also be drawn up, and passengers booked in those cabins will be advised as soon as possible of our forward plans."

shipcafe said:

The materials on the verandahs are highly flammable.

bdjam

A smoldering cigarette is suspected as the cause of the blaze, said Horace Peterkin, president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association , who toured the ship after it docked here.   The ship was not seriously damaged and would sail back to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Friday, Peterkin said.     http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=1760845&page=1
According to Cruise News Daily, Princess has made no official statement as to the cause of the fire and denies that it stated the fire might have started due to a cigarette. That may turn out to be the cause, but Princess is not making any guesses at it.

prophotogirl

prophotogirl

My heart goes out to all that are affected by this horrible incident. :(

Princess Chatterer

How in the world is Princess going to maintain the Star Princess' "onward schedule" after a fire like this? What are the Princess execs smoking?

There is no way Princess can fake the public and Wall Street out with a mumble jumble press release about getting back on an onward schedule.

The Star Princess is toast for some time to come. End of story.

Here's a picture of the damage to the STAR Princess.   [ATTACH]18953[/ATTACH]   Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are on the ship and their families.

Our cabin from our Nov. sailing is among those burned. Makes me sad to think of that beautiful ship looking like that and how horrible for those onboard. Thankfully there weren't too many injuries or deaths.

My thoughts also go out to those who have been looking forward to future sailings on her who will now have to wait for repairs. It's all very disappointing and tragic.

Maybe we should follow their example and wait until the authorities finish their report and announce their findings before we go overboard with speculation.

lovetohavefun

Heart breaking! Just heart breaking! I feel so sad for all those affected by this.

I just heard from my mother, who is a passenger on the Star Princess cruise going on right now that there was a big fire last night. Horns blew in the middle of the night to signal everyone to lifeboats, lifeboats were lowered to loading position, but it didn't sound like people were put in the boats. Apparently 120 rooms are out of commission on the boat! It sounds like they're headed to Jamaica, and that they might let the passengers off there. That's all the info I have...

I am so glad to hear that your mother is o.k. I hope everyone can get to speak to their loved ones so they may feel more at ease. It must be very scary for those on board as well as for all the families at home! I wish them all the best.

Barry ATL

Help me out.... what is there to burn on the balcony's? There is a wood rail, but isn't everything else plastic, rubber, glass, and steel?

They just showed it on our local news. They report that 150 cabins were destroyed but that the ship is able to sail back to Ft. Laud. My goodness!!! I will pray for all that have been injured!

Local news here in Fort Lauderdale said that the ship will be in Montego Bay for maybe a week as the authorities go over the ship, the US Coast Guard is already there. Then another channel said that they ship might leave tomorrow for Fort Lauderdale, no one knows at this point, not even Princess.

Has anyone a clue where they would dry dock Star?

We are scheduled for the transatlantic on 4-30

Lane40

Barry....I have been having the same difficulty understanding how this could of happened from a balcony fire. There are things on a balcony that can burn, but to make a fire of this extent just makes no sense to me.

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  • Princess Cruises

Cigarette "probable cause" Star Princess Fire

By sharecruises , October 23, 2006 in Princess Cruises

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3,000+ Club

sharecruises

Just heard on the news, Fort Lauderdale (which is Princess area LOL)...

cigarette "probable cause"..which apparently is as far as they can tell, it was not from the cabin where the balcony was, but thrown or blew onto there,

there was NO accelerant

TV report said that there was a call for stricter safety measures

etc....well Princess has retrofitted their balconies I do think

the reports are here...from what I read, the plastic really stoked this fire,

does not seem deliberate...says NO accelerant

http://www.maib.gov.uk/publications/investigation_reports/2006/star_princess.cfm

princess reply :

http://www.princess.com/news/article.jsp?newsArticleId=na834

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20,000+ Club

Considering the huge number of cruises that go out every week (when you combine all the cruise lines currently running) I think they have an excellent safety record.

I certainly won't hesitate to board one.

Cool Cruiser

Obviously someone ignored those safety warnings not to throw the butts over the side because they can blow back onto the ship.

Sadly some people have no respect. It's not like there aren't plenty of ash trays all over the place.

5,000+ Club

I think the brisk wind certainly acted as the accelerant.

KruznKel

I don't think it should be stated so much as a cigarette as it should be human STUPIDITY... :mad:

caribbean dreams

caribbean dreams

And i hope that person knows who they are.

Cigs will kill you one way or another sometimes!

bluefintuna

We were aboard Crown Princess for the 9/30 sailing. They replaced our balcony partitions that week. Watching the workmen this took hours to replace just one partition. This is a very tedious job. The plastic balcony furniture has been replaced with a steel/aluminum table and chairs. I have read many accounts of the Star fire and I feel the crew did an awesome job considering the inferno they faced. A nightmare beyond comprehension.

So can walking across the street sometimes... don't start comparing apples to oranges

Congrats to the crew the staff and the people onboard that day! Still has nothing to do with the HUMAN STUPIDITY that caused all of it.. if in fact that is the cause (cigarette)

jessemon

I'm sorry,but I still don't buy the cigarette idea.

I am sure most of use have been on multiple cruiselines and have had balcony cabins. There are very few things flamable out there. Even if the chairs and lounges have cushions they have to pass what is called a pill test. That is where they put a flamable pill on that item to test its rate of spread. If it don't pass it is not manufactured.

Plastic tables and chairs...maybe if you put a torch to them.

Wood decking? I dropped a smoke on the wood floor in the house once...left a burn mark. That was many years ago and Mom was not happy.:mad:

Towels...maybe if every cabin for 3 decks and 30 cabins had them piled high on their balconies.

If you look at a balcony you see lots of steel. Maybe wood decking. Glass or steel dividers between cabins and a few peices of PVC furniture.

The other thing is they were at sea. Every time I have been at sea at night on my balcony it is to say the least damp. If not down right wet.

For those of you that believe that Princess is not trying to cover something up...Well, it makes me wonder.

Sounds more like something in the electric system went hey wire.

Think of the pics you saw and your experience of cruising on a balcony.

It engulfed the whole side of the ship...

Think people...;)

They say cigarette because they couldn't find any accelerant but found no cigarette either but that towel started flamming within 1 minute.

You have to remember, the Star Princess has alot more plastic and rubber on the balconies than Carnival ships.

I smoke and i know the biggest NO NO on a ship is to flick it off the side but yet i see it happening all the time, i have said things to people about it and they just give me a dirty look, same thing happens when i tell people they are smoking in a non smoking area.

My point is, even if by a remote chance it was not a cigarette, it will still be blamed on smokers because of the MORONS who think the rules do not apply to them.

zydecocruiser

where is howdyD mentioning the availability of the Princess board for this discussion?

i don't think there was enough evidence left for them to ever determine the true cause unless someone fesses up.

chasetf

I'm sorry,but I still don't buy the cigarette idea. I am sure most of use have been on multiple cruiselines and have had balcony cabins. There are very few things flamable out there. Even if the chairs and lounges have cushions they have to pass what is called a pill test. That is where they put a flamable pill on that item to test its rate of spread. If it don't pass it is not manufactured. Plastic tables and chairs...maybe if you put a torch to them. Wood decking? I dropped a smoke on the wood floor in the house once...left a burn mark. That was many years ago and Mom was not happy.:mad: Towels...maybe if every cabin for 3 decks and 30 cabins had them piled high on their balconies. If you look at a balcony you see lots of steel. Maybe wood decking. Glass or steel dividers between cabins and a few peices of PVC furniture. The other thing is they were at sea. Every time I have been at sea at night on my balcony it is to say the least damp. If not down right wet. For those of you that believe that Princess is not trying to cover something up...Well, it makes me wonder. Sounds more like something in the electric system went hey wire. Think of the pics you saw and your experience of cruising on a balcony. It engulfed the whole side of the ship... Think people...;)

What is your point.. Don't believe big corporations ? They Lie !! This had to be a conspiracy !!! There was an arsonist aboard ??? :confused:

If you have a better answer let us know.

What is your point.. Don't believe big corporations ? They Lie !! This had to be a conspiracy !!! There was an arsonist aboard ??? :confused:   If you have a better answer let us know.

No...I believe them...:rolleyes:

Let's blame 1 cigarette for this on the outside of a ship...cruising at 19-20 knots.

Couldn't be something was wrong with the ship...Gosh...that might not be good for business.

Very big fire for an area where most things are metal...very hot too...

By the way...no definite conclusion has been drawn yet...And even the experts don't have an answer....:eek:

Isnt it so easy to place blame on lazy disrespeactful cig smokers! I suppose its easier for the ship to place blame as such, because surely it couldnt have been "their own fault"........

I wonder how well the cruise lines would do if they were "smoke" free.......and well hey while were on the subject....all of those obnoxious drunks that we see day to day.....lets have a smoke/drink free cruise......for those that are so quick to ruin "your own" holiday and are so very sensitive in these matters.....HAVE FUN.....I will so not be on your holiday causing you turmoil.......as I am so considerate.....BON VOYAGE!....

ps...back to the orignal post....."**** happens".....who or what to blame is so very quick....why not blame it on the passenger and not the ship itself.....what caused the "big lean" on Princess not too long ago....was that the fault of a smokin drunk fellow that wandered in the control room and was able to grab the wheel and just spin it out of control?

Isnt it so easy to place blame on lazy disrespeactful cig smokers! I suppose its easier for the ship to place blame as such, because surely it couldnt have been "their own fault"........   I wonder how well the cruise lines would do if they were "smoke" free.......and well hey while were on the subject....all of those obnoxious drunks that we see day to day.....lets have a smoke/drink free cruise......for those that are so quick to ruin "your own" holiday and are so very sensitive in these matters.....HAVE FUN.....I will so not be on your holiday causing you turmoil.......as I am so considerate.....BON VOYAGE!....   me.   ps...back to the orignal post....."**** happens".....who or what to blame is so very quick....why not blame it on the passenger and not the ship itself.....what caused the "big lean" on Princess not too long ago....was that the fault of a smokin drunk fellow that wandered in the control room and was able to grab the wheel and just spin it out of control?   Im done.

Now as "Larry the Cable Guy" would say...

"I don't care where you're from...that's funny."

I loved this post...LOL:D

No...I believe them...:rolleyes: Let's blame 1 cigarette for this on the outside of a ship...cruising at 19-20 knots. Couldn't be something was wrong with the ship...Gosh...that might not be good for business. Very big fire for an area where most things are metal...very hot too...   By the way...no definite conclusion has been drawn yet...And even the experts don't have an answer....:eek:

No accelerant = no arson

No electrical problems. Did you read that part about the lighting fixtures and how they burned ? They looked for those causes, analyzing potential sources and didn't find them. But of course they didn't want to find them because that would be uh "bad for business".

The throughness of the report, the detailed analysis they went through convinced me. But for others (probably mostly the smokers), they want to keep looking for the magic bullet.

One cigarette can start a fire. In my hometown 1 cigarette destroyed 400 homes.

No accelerant = no arson No electrical problems. Did you read that part about the lighting fixtures and how they burned ? They looked for those causes, analyzing potential sources and didn't find them. But of course they didn't want to find them because that would be uh "bad for business".   The throughness of the report, the detailed analysis they went through convinced me. But for others (probably mostly the smokers), they want to keep looking for the magic bullet.   One cigarette can start a fire. In my hometown 1 cigarette destroyed 400 homes.
Please let me know where you read that report on the fixtures. I am curious. I would like to know who "they" are who did the report.

What hometown was that by the way?

My conclusions are drawn from the report the OP cited at

http://www.maib.gov.uk/publications/...r_princess.cfm

Specifically, some of the most revealing parts of the report I cite are from the following sections of the report:

1.8 POST-FIRE SURVEY AND DAMAGE

The only electrical fitting provided on each of the balconies was an exterior light sited over the balcony doors. There was no evidence of any electrical failure or arcing on these fittings

1.9.5 Items on balconies

Lightweight plastic chairs, table and footstools (Figure 26) of the type commonly available for outdoor recreational use were provided for each balcony. The first heat detectors to activate were in staterooms C316 and C318, and items on the balcony of stateroom C316 at the time included two large cotton towels provided by the ship and draped over the plastic chairs, a bathing suit, and a pair of water shoes, all of which had been on the balcony for several hours

2.3.1 Seat of the fire

The time, location, and sequence of the activation of the smoke and heat detectors fitted, along with video evidence, the accounts of passengers, and the survey of the damage , indicate that the fire started in the vicinity of the stateroom balconies of C316 and C318, on deck 10 . The alarms in these staterooms were the first to activate in the accommodation area, and the sequence of alarm activation (Table 1) shows that the fire spread upwards and aft

2.3.2 Cause of ignition

There was no evidence that accelerants were used to intentionally set the fire , and the only electrical fittings on the balconies were the enclosed light fittings above the balcony doors. The damage to the light fittings on the balconies of C316 and C318 was consistent with exposure to an external heat source; there was no evidence of arcing or failure. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, it is considered that the most likely source of ignition was a discarded cigarette end.

Sadly all rules are to protect humans from humans....

the cig could not do anything by itself.

Again quoting Larry the Cable Guy..."if we can blame fires on cigarettes then I can blame misspelled words on my pencil!"

OK - asbestos underwear on.

As usual, we have the two competing sides here. The anti cigarette crowd crowing, and the smokers deep into denial.

The fact is that smoke was smelled nearly 15 minutes before the actual flames were noticed. This is classic for a cigarette caused fire - smouldering for several minutes before the wind finally got the thing going into actual flames.

The MAIB, like the NTSB here in the USA has no agenda except safety. They are sometimes a bit heavy handed, but they always go for safety. Yes, there was a lot of metal on the balconies, but there was more than enough flammable material even without a towel or swim suit drying. Once the flames started, a 30 knot (approximately 35 MPH) wind across the side of the ship was more than enough to fan the flames into an inferno. For those who do not know, the 30 knot relative wind spoken of in the article is a combination of the actual wind combined with what is caused by the movement of the ship.

Please read and re-read the entire report.

To show how much people are in denial about such things, I was on Century a week after the Star's fire. I saw somebody throw a cigarette over the side, and his attitude was 'so what?'. ...and you wonder why non-smokers get so upset?

As I said - asbestos underwear on.

kyrisong1

Hey flute, doesn't the asbestos itch? :p When we were on Glory in September we found a cig on our balcony, I was with my sister that time not hubby, so neither of us smoke, so it couldn't have been us (besides the fact that if I were with hubby it couldn't have been him anyway cause he's not STUPID enough to throw a smoke off the deck) I started looking around at sail aways from ports and saw people throwing paper <or nuts> couldn't tell which, I saw alot of people up on the decks throwing cigs over the side. I wish that first off people had respect, not only for the fact that we are on a vessel in the middle of the ocean and a fire could be deadly for all, but for the ocean and the creatures IN the ocean, we don't need that junk in there. But given the fact that there ARE idiots out there that have no respect or sense. What about big notices maybe taped to the mirror when you board in all cabins, or somewhere, where EVERYONE can see and explain the dangers of throwing smokes, ect. overboard? I'm in total agreement on the "you can't blame the cig for it, it's the person smoking it that decides what to do with it"

Just a thought <kicks soapbox out from under her>:rolleyes:

ultimatemaniaccruiser

HELLO SMOKERS. I used to smoke and I know for a fact that a cigarette could easily start a fire and start one quickly. Let's see here... I was driving down the road one day and my back seat was on fire... caused by a piece of ash from my smoke.

My garbage can caught on fire once when my gf at the time threw away the contents of the ash tray. This one will surprise you : a planter smoldered for weeks and burnt a huge hole in the deck after someone half put out a cigarette in it.

To me there's no question the star fire was caused by a cigarette. Does that mean that smoking is the root of all evil? No it just means that cigarettes can cause fires if you're not careful. Smoke 'em if you got 'em but just put them out in the ash trays when you're done. Still love the smell of a smoke but I smoked my last one ever about 4 months ago.

Since there are many debates about this on the carnival board and many who were 'waiting" for the report,

I think the report was pretty clear that they ruled out electric or accelerant fires, this was an accident..and most likely a cigarette

Yes, maybe someone threw a lit candle over their deck, but it seems most likely a cigarette

I think Princess is doing a good job to retrofit the balconies, but I do wonder about other lines

Maybe they need to have a "fine" for people who throw stuff over the rails,

and more signs, warnings, a warning in the daily paper, etc...

Give them a warning and then put them off the ship..

I also think people who are in balcony that is getting this sort of debris/cigarette butts should let someone on the ship know...they need a dedicated security or safety person JMO

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

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princess cruise fire 2006

Carnival Cruise ship catches fire after possible lightning strike

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – The Carnival Freedom ship caught fire Saturday near the Bahamas after passengers reported a lightning strike on the boat during a thunderstorm .

Carnival Cruise Line said the crew reported a fire on the port side of the ship's exhaust funnel around 3:15 p.m. Saturday. The ship was 20 miles off Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas, sailing to Freeport after being unable to dock at Princess Cay due to weather conditions. 

"Our onboard team acted quickly to contain and put out the fire," Carnival Cruise Line said. "While we continue to investigate multiple eyewitness reports of a lightning strike, our technical team completed a thorough assessment during the ship’s visit to Freeport on Sunday."

LIGHTNING FATALITIES WERE SECOND LOWEST ON RECORD IN 2023, SAFETY COUNCIL SAYS

Around the time of the fire, radar showed a storm cell over the area and a lot of lightning activity.

Multiple passenger videos show flames and dark smoke billowing from the exhaust funnel as rain continues to pour onto the deck.

Passenger Heath Barnes said the ship was supposed to dock at Princess Cay on Saturday about 9 a.m., but passengers were told that the boat would continue to Freeport due to strong winds . 

During the afternoon, the rain returned, and passengers reported hearing loud thunder and then seeing the smoke. Soon after, guests were told to remain in their cabins.

"Why is our tail on fire?" someone can be heard saying in the video recorded by Barnes. "That's not good, y'all."

On Monday, Carnival Freedom returned to Port Canaveral , where guests disembarked.

The cruise line said damage to the ship is "more than we first thought" and will require immediate repair to stabilize the funnel. Cruises scheduled to depart from Port Canaveral on March 25th and March 29th have been canceled. All guests on the canceled trips will receive a full refund and a 100% future cruise credit.

FOX Business reported that the same cruise ship caught on fire in 2022 after being struck by lightning. 

Another video recorded on Saturday by X user @breezebreeze showed the fire on the ship.

"Carnival Freedom on fire AGAIN!!" they wrote on X.

Original article source: Carnival Cruise ship catches fire after possible lightning strike

Radar at 3:15 p.m. on March 23 when a Carnival Cruise ship was possibly hit by lightning. FOX Weather

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COMMENTS

  1. Cigarette eyed as cause of cruise blaze

    The blackened outside of the Star Princess shows that the fire covered several floors of the cruise ship. ... Print; March 23, 2006, 3:41 PM ... Lim also reported that Princess Cruises had sent ...

  2. Star Princess Fire (2006)

    The Marine Accident Investigation Branch concluded that the cause of the fire of the Star Princess in 2006 was mostly likely a cigarette butt drops from a balcony. The cigarette butt set fire to the balcony furniture, partitions, and flooring causing the fire to spread rapidly. At the time, smoking on a balcony was allowed but throwing ...

  3. Fire Aboard Cruise Ship Kills 1 Passenger, Injures 11

    That record ended Thursday with a fatal fire on a Princess Cruises ship that killed one man and left 11 passengers suffering smoke inhalation. The fire started about 3:10 a.m. in a passenger area ...

  4. Fire breaks out aboard cruise ship; one dead

    MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- A fire broke out Thursday on the Jamaica-bound Star Princess cruise ship, and one person died of a heart attack, according to cruise line officials. The Star Princess, with ...

  5. Briefly: Blaze on cruise ship kills one and hurts 11 (Published 2006)

    March 23, 2006. MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica: Fire broke out on a cruise ship in the Caribbean on Thursday and spread to several cabins, killing one person and injuring 11 others before the crew ...

  6. Fire on cruise ship kills 1, injures 11

    Fire on cruise ship kills 1, injures 11. Mar 24, 2006. The Star Princess, carrying 2,690 passengers and 1,123 crew members, bears evidence of the fire as it arrives at Montego Bay, Jamaica. Dozens of exterior cabins were blackened by the blaze. ... There was no immediate confirmation from officials at the cruise line. The Star Princess sailed ...

  7. Cigarette caused fatal ship fire, says authorities

    March 23, 2006 at 8:52 a.m. Montego Bay, Jamaica - A fire apparently started by a cigarette spread smoke through a cruise ship in the Caribbean early today, killing an American, injuring 11 ...

  8. Cruise Ship Fire

    A Caribbean cruise vacation for more than 2,600 people ended abruptly on March 23, 2006, after a fire ignited aboard the gigantic cruise ship Star Princess, charring some 150 rooms and injuring 11 ...

  9. Ship passengers recall terror during Star Princess blaze

    PUBLISHED: March 25, 2006 at 12:00 a.m. ... A smoldering cigarette is suspected as the cause of the fire, but Princess Cruises spokeswoman Julie Benson said authorities were still investigating.

  10. South: Florida: Cruise Passengers Go Home After Fire

    Princess Cruises, part of Carnival P.L.C., is sending more than 2,600 passengers home from Jamaica with full refunds after a fire on the Star Princess. The fire left a Georgia man dead and 11 ...

  11. Deadly Cruise Blaze Blamed on Cigarette, Plastic Partitions

    A discarded cigarette butt probably caused the fire that charred one side of the cruise ship Star Princess in March and led to the death of a passenger, the British safety agency investigating the ...

  12. U.K. MAIB: Cigarette 'probably' caused fire on Star Princess

    Oct 23, 2006. |. T he U.K. Marine Accident Investigation Branch on Oct. 23 published its report on the March 23 fire on the Star Princess, and the report stated what was widely suspected: That the ...

  13. Fire starts and spreads via balconies of passenger cruise ship Star

    Fire starts and spreads via balconies of passenger cruise ship Star Princess with loss of 1 life ... 23 March 2006. ... Annexes (4,239.34 kb) Summary. Report on the investigation of the fire on ...

  14. Survivor Recalls Cruise Ship Fire

    March 24, 2006 — -- Dr. Philip Shields was in his cruise ship cabin on the Star Princess early Thursday morning, when loud noises woke him up. He went out to his balcony and saw a large fire ...

  15. Star Princess Cruise Ship Fire

    Various photos taken onoard the Star Princess after the large fire whilst sailing to Jamaica from Grand Cayman.

  16. 15-Yr Anniversary (March 23rd): Fire on Star Princess

    389. March 27, 2006. #1. Posted March 23, 2021. Hi everyone, Today is the 15-yr anniversary of the Star Princess fire. I can't believe how quickly this time has flown by. I hope this posts finds all my March 2006 Star Princess cruise mates doing well! I dug up my post from March 2006, which I posted a few days after returning home from the fire ...

  17. Ten Years of Cruise Ship Fires

    Real tragedy struck passengers on Princess' Star Princess cruise ship in 2006. A fire began on a balcony and quickly destroyed several hundred cabins and killed a passenger, Richard Liffridge of Georgia. We represented Mr. Liffridge's children in litigation against Princess.

  18. 10-Yr Anniversary (March 23rd): Fire on Star Princess

    Dark Side Of The Moon. #24. Posted March 23, 2016. Hi everyone, Today is the 10-yr anniversary of the Star Princess fire. I can't believe how quickly this time has flown by. I hope this posts finds all my March 2006 Star Princess cruise mates doing well! I dug up my post from March 2006, which I posted a few days after returning home from the ...

  19. Report On Star Princess Fire

    As for how this will affect cruise ships, the report states that the recommendations will be pushed forward to SOLAS in December of 2006. Currently, Princess has retrofitted all of its balconies with partitions and balcony furniture that is less flammable as well as heat sensors and sprinkler systems.

  20. 2006X01 Safety Notice

    31 Dec 2006 MARS. A safety notice issued by the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL), April 2006. The purpose of this safety notice is to inform ICCL members and, to the extent feasible, other passenger vessel operators, of some of the preliminary indications from the recent balcony fire on the cruise ship Star Princess. Additionally ...

  21. Fire on the Star Princess

    Princess Cruises ; Fire on the Star Princess Fire on the Star Princess. ... Next; Page 6 of 9 . Recommended Posts. negc. Posted March 24, 2006. negc. Members; 26.5k May 3, 2000 #126 Share; Posted March 24, 2006. ... who is a passenger on the Star Princess cruise going on right now that there was a big fire last night. Horns blew in the middle ...

  22. Did you hear the cause of the Princess fire?

    So much for irons. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11975460/ Cigarette eyed as cause of cruise blaze

  23. Cigarette "probable cause" Star Princess Fire

    Just heard on the news, Fort Lauderdale (which is Princess area LOL)... cigarette "probable cause"..which apparently is as far as they can tell, it was not from the cabin where the balcony was, but thrown or blew onto there, there was NO accelerant TV report said that there was a call for stricte...

  24. Carnival Cruise ship catches fire after possible lightning strike

    Carnival Cruise Line said the crew reported a fire on the port side of the ship's exhaust funnel around 3:15 p.m. Saturday. The ship was 20 miles off Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas, sailing to ...