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Old 17-06-2013, 17:44   #151
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Re: Boat Burns in Grenada!

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Mark-
Look askance at any ionization type fire detector that claims a ten year life. I say this after experiencing numerous detector failures, and finding out that the current statements from most every fire prevention agency say that ionization detectors will ALL INHERENTLY FAIL after some 5-7 years. There are major urban housing codes that have recently been rewritten to require their replacement in 7 years, regardless of operating condition, as a result of this.
No one wants to answer the question directly, but it appears that normal dust in the air clogs the ionization sensor, and even in the best of conditions, this kills them in 5-7 years, making replacement every 5 years a very good idea.
The photoelectric detectors don't have that problem. They also are apparently better at picking up smoldering smokey fires, which the ionization types sometimes don't pick up until after there's more than a foot of smoke on the ceiling. That can buy you a 15-30 minute head start on the fire response.
Is there a quick-and-dirty way to tell which type you've got?

Ours always seems to know when the bacon is crisp. Otherwise, all I know is that it doesn't require batteries.
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Old 17-06-2013, 17:52   #152
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Re: Boat Burns in Grenada!

The engine stuff was a furfy too. They found it!
I am not quite sure how you can look into where the engine is and not see it, and then a few days later take another look and say "well there ya go it didnt burn or melt: its still there".

But it appears to still be there, as of this afternoon. But this may change tomorrow.

If I see someone take a few fan belts aboard then we will know definitively!

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boat had just taken on 3,000 litres of diesel
Thats what I heard too.

@ Astrid: Yes VHF#68 is the cruisers channel and folks listen in overnight.
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Old 17-06-2013, 18:38   #153
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Re: Boat Burns in Grenada!

In the US, public service organizations (fire departments, etc) can not be sued for making tactial mistakes, or generally faulty equipment.

Good luck suing a sovreign state, especially a 3rd world one.

I am surprised that no cruising boat in the area had a portable pump. My boat is only 36-ft long and I have always carried a 1-inch gasoline powered pump. It has had a very successful career - it extinguished a good size interoir fire on a cruising boat in Gibralter and has kept 4 boats from sinking do to flooding.

For the type of fire that occurred, the only way to extinguish it with hand portable extinguishers is to first totally cut off the main batteries - meaning removing or cutting the positive cable from/at the battery terminal. Once a large panel fire starts, eventually wires will fall and short each other out - which makes it, in effect, a run away electrical wiring fire. Fuses and breakers will not control this type of fire.

To dis-connect the battery wires in a high heat, toxic smoke filled space, where the batteries are probably under the floorboards, is an extremely dangerous operation - but needs to be done at the earliest possible time.

I investigated many of these types of fire in Southern California (I was a Fire/Arson Investigator who specialized in boat fires and here in North Carolina have trained land based fire fighters in how to deal with maritime fires) and they were very hard to control/extinguish even when aggressively fought by professional fire fighters with unlimited resources use to dealing with boat fires.

My hat's off to the owner and engineer for maintaining their fire fighting efforts for so long.

They did far more than the average crew would do, but you have to realize when you are dealing with this type of fire - even in the early stages - you are going to have to disconnect the batteries as fast as possible, cause a large amount of damage to your boat just to gain access to the fire, and you are going to need a significant amount of fire fightig equipment AT HAND, before you start in.

If I have followed the story correctly, the 2 shore based fire fighters did open the area up with axes, but they had no water source to immediately attack the fire. They could have taken the deck hose below if it would have reached that far. Dry chemical doesn't work all that well on this type of fire, so once the area was opened up the fire had all the oxygen it needed to rapidly grow.

With the rescue boat fire pump out of action, there should have been buckets of water available to throw directly onto the fire area once it was opened up - or continue to use the boat's deck hose if it was still operational. Or if someone would have had a portable pump....

If a fire truck could have gotten close to the waterfront near the fire, it is easy enough to have uncharged fire hose towed out to the boat on fire and once everything is ready to have the hose charged with water via the fire truck.

I think that the fire fighters could have put to better use their limited resources by having dealt with dis-connecting the batteries - they had SCBA's and bunker gear and could have safely operate in the smokey enviroment for the time needed to complete this task.

Failing that, the fire might have been controlled if they used the deck hose (or multiple water sources) to completely soak all energized wires and burning material. But in the end, the positive leads must be removed from the batteries to totally de-energize boat before the fire can be totally extinguished.

While the Grenada fire crew were obviously not equipped to deal with the fire at hand, it appears that they did go inside the burning boat and try and stop the fire. A pretty good effort by 2 people who admitted that they had no training or experience in dealing with a boat fire.

However it is a pretty damning statement of how poorly the government of Grenada does in properly equipping and training their Coast Guard and land based fire fighters. For the lack of a functional $1,000 pump and some training, a $5 million yacht was lost.

For all that happened, at least no one was injured or killed, and an obvious problem has been made clear - that hopefully will be addressed.
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Old 17-06-2013, 18:50   #154
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Re: Boat Burns in Grenada!

Mr. Brown, in your experience did you deal with any foam insulated boats and if so, were these fires harder to control than non foamed boats? That is what I have been told, and why I avoided foam myself but it would be helpful to have that verified by someone with actual experience.

Also, if you had to characterize the top sources for fires on board, what would they be?

I suppose I am a bit more paranoid about fires than most, but I provided for a 200 gpm sea water fire hose through a Pacer hydraulic pump that doubles as an emergency de-watering pump under the theory that I can use it to wet down vessels next to me if one catches fire in a marina (common occurrence) or flood the heck out of a fire on my own vessel.
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Old 17-06-2013, 18:51   #155
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Re: Boat Burns in Grenada!

Wow Doug: I want you next door when my boat catches on fire.
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Old 17-06-2013, 20:27   #156
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Re: Boat Burns in Grenada!

All I can say is how can a company bild a vessel with a dash(cant think of what else to call it) containing something that just might have a problem You know wireing and electronic stuff, and not have a convenint access to get into it ! sure did some un bluewater design work!! The boats I started out working on 60 yrs ago had spray foam insulation in all the fish holds!! I sure know it burns, and the smell is a killer! But everybit of it was in places ya could get to with fire fighting equipment!! My Colvin was spray foam coverd with some kind of fire slowdown materal ( I had it done by a company that sprayed fishing boats ! so Im not to sure what they used, and it was many years ago LOL) But back then we used co2 fire stuff both manual and auto. We never had to use any of it but always felt better about haveing it ! I wonder why they can't come up with some type of fire retardent system on a boat this expensive??
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Old 17-06-2013, 21:42   #157
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Re: Boat Burns in Grenada!

Hi Bob and Connie! I am "guessing" that the electrical fire caught a nearby accelerant; maybe an open fuel container or such, caught fire and swiftly spread it throughout the boat.

Mauritz
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Old 17-06-2013, 21:50   #158
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Re: Boat Burns in Grenada!

Hi Delfin - there are different types of spray-on foam insulation. A couple of types are extremely flammable and produce really toxic smoke. Others are rated as being none flammable, meaning if you take the source of ignition away the foam it will self extinguish. While you may not have an open flame, these foams will generally smolder to some degree and produce toxic smoke.

So the short answer is a fire on a foam insulated boat can be much more difficult to deal with.

Obviously, all fires produce smoke that is toxic, but like Orwell's pigs, some are more toxic than others!

And smoke - not flames - are always going to be your biggest problem. Without an air source (SCBA, or a scuba tank or bail out bottle), you can not last more than 5 - 10 seconds below deck before you have to come up for air - and you can not do very much in so short a period of time.

Other foams than no one really thinks about are foam rubber, vinyl and "peanuts" as used in mattrress, cushion backs, headliners and "bean bag" chairs. Not all are flammable, but those that are are considered to be a "liquifiable solid" - ie when they burn they turn back into a liquid state and can pool, run and drip. Since they are a petrochemical product, they burn with the same intensity as gasoline and produce the same high heat and extremely dark black smoke.

Bean bag type chairs are really bad news....we ignited one in a training fire, not knowing what it was, and within 30-seconds the 8' x 10' room was fully involved and 6-ft tall flames were coming out the window. I also remember a foam rubber mattress/couch on a powerboat that ignited from a nearby floor heater that produced the same results as the bean bag. Very impressive from a technical point of view, and of course the boat was a total loss.

Number one cause of fires were electrical problems. Generally no fuse, but loose wires, wrong size wires, wrong size fuses, rodents eating the wiring, and on and on. I have seen 22-ga wire ignite plywood in a locker - unbelievable what 12-volts can do! Plus people are extremely creative when it comes to wiring....not always for the best.

A 200-gpm pump will do the job! The standard fire engine 1-1/2" hoseline usually uses a 95-gpm nozzle at 100-125 psi. My little 1-inch pump only produces 35-gpm at 60-psi but it can handle a good size fire in the early stages. They also make pumps in 1-1/2 and 2" size that pump between 60 to 100 gpm at 60-psi, which is a lot of water and are still pretty compact.

When I saw the first photo with the flames just coming out of the window, my first thought was my pump could have put that out (might have also needed a couple of dry chemical extinguishers to make a faster initial knock down, but the pump could have done it alone).

If you do use a nozzle on your hose and if the pump does not have a pressure relief valve, make sure the nozzle is never fully closed or you will blow out the seals in the pump. If the pump is driven by a 4-stroke engine, make sure the engine stays upright or you can starve the bearings of oil and destroy the engine.

Without a pump, you usually can not get enough fire fighting agent directly onto the fire. Discharging a dry chemical into smoke is a waste of time. Bigger gas extinguishers (CO2 and halon replacements) - and I'm talking the 15 and 20-lb sizes, can be effective if the fire is in a confined space. Water can always get things under control quickly and you have an unlimited source of agent (water) with a long discharge time - minutes - versus just seconds for hand portable extinguishers.

Water can be used with 100% safety on 12-32 volt fires, and with proper training/equipment (spray nozzle only) can be used on 120-240-440-880 volt fires.

Like you, I'm semi-paranoid about fires onboard or nearby, but only because I saw so many of them both in the "marina world" and while out long distance cruising. People are very creative and have come up with all kinds of accidental ways to set their boats on fire, so the danger is there!

If I had to state only 2 rules for fire fighting on boats, (1) turn off the electricity and (2) attack the fire with everything you have and don't worry about making a mess!

You can fix a mess....
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Old 17-06-2013, 21:51   #159
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Re: Boat Burns in Grenada!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teknav View Post
Hi Bob and Connie! I am "guessing" that the electrical fire caught a nearby accelerant; maybe an open fuel container or such, caught fire and swiftly spread it throughout the boat.

Mauritz
I don't mean to be disrespectful but quite honestly all of this speculation is completely unhelpful and quite frankly, not based on any facts. I don't know what is achieved by this sort of post? Would it not be better to wait for the proper investigation to be carried out together with the evidence from the people who were on board trying to fight the fire, rather than wild speculation and guessing? We all want to learn something if we can but it is completely premature to make assumptions surely? Maybe I am missing something?
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Old 17-06-2013, 23:30   #160
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Re: Boat Burns in Grenada!

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Irrefutable proof that dark hulls cannot withstand the heat of warmer climes. That argument is over.
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Old 17-06-2013, 23:58   #161
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Re: Boat Burns in Grenada!

I don't know Tecnav, nowhere in the description of the fire and the events leading up to the loss, there was no mention of a QUICK flare up caused by fuel! Don't know where ya got that from ! But seein how you know all about disasters like this and how they happen ! I guess your eyes see something all the rest of us missed !! HUMMM Its pretty hard to tell anything from what is left !! So I guess you are the Man in this case !!
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Old 18-06-2013, 03:03   #162
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Re: Boat Burns in Grenada!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Brown View Post
Hi Delfin - there are different types of spray-on foam insulation. A couple of types are extremely flammable and produce really toxic smoke. Others are rated as being none flammable, meaning if you take the source of ignition away the foam it will self extinguish. While you may not have an open flame, these foams will generally smolder to some degree and produce toxic smoke.

So the short answer is a fire on a foam insulated boat can be much more difficult to deal with.

Obviously, all fires produce smoke that is toxic, but like Orwell's pigs, some are more toxic than others!

And smoke - not flames - are always going to be your biggest problem. Without an air source (SCBA, or a scuba tank or bail out bottle), you can not last more than 5 - 10 seconds below deck before you have to come up for air - and you can not do very much in so short a period of time.

Other foams than no one really thinks about are foam rubber, vinyl and "peanuts" as used in mattrress, cushion backs, headliners and "bean bag" chairs. Not all are flammable, but those that are are considered to be a "liquifiable solid" - ie when they burn they turn back into a liquid state and can pool, run and drip. Since they are a petrochemical product, they burn with the same intensity as gasoline and produce the same high heat and extremely dark black smoke.

Bean bag type chairs are really bad news....we ignited one in a training fire, not knowing what it was, and within 30-seconds the 8' x 10' room was fully involved and 6-ft tall flames were coming out the window. I also remember a foam rubber mattress/couch on a powerboat that ignited from a nearby floor heater that produced the same results as the bean bag. Very impressive from a technical point of view, and of course the boat was a total loss.

Number one cause of fires were electrical problems. Generally no fuse, but loose wires, wrong size wires, wrong size fuses, rodents eating the wiring, and on and on. I have seen 22-ga wire ignite plywood in a locker - unbelievable what 12-volts can do! Plus people are extremely creative when it comes to wiring....not always for the best.

A 200-gpm pump will do the job! The standard fire engine 1-1/2" hoseline usually uses a 95-gpm nozzle at 100-125 psi. My little 1-inch pump only produces 35-gpm at 60-psi but it can handle a good size fire in the early stages. They also make pumps in 1-1/2 and 2" size that pump between 60 to 100 gpm at 60-psi, which is a lot of water and are still pretty compact.

When I saw the first photo with the flames just coming out of the window, my first thought was my pump could have put that out (might have also needed a couple of dry chemical extinguishers to make a faster initial knock down, but the pump could have done it alone).

If you do use a nozzle on your hose and if the pump does not have a pressure relief valve, make sure the nozzle is never fully closed or you will blow out the seals in the pump. If the pump is driven by a 4-stroke engine, make sure the engine stays upright or you can starve the bearings of oil and destroy the engine.

Without a pump, you usually can not get enough fire fighting agent directly onto the fire. Discharging a dry chemical into smoke is a waste of time. Bigger gas extinguishers (CO2 and halon replacements) - and I'm talking the 15 and 20-lb sizes, can be effective if the fire is in a confined space. Water can always get things under control quickly and you have an unlimited source of agent (water) with a long discharge time - minutes - versus just seconds for hand portable extinguishers.

Water can be used with 100% safety on 12-32 volt fires, and with proper training/equipment (spray nozzle only) can be used on 120-240-440-880 volt fires.

Like you, I'm semi-paranoid about fires onboard or nearby, but only because I saw so many of them both in the "marina world" and while out long distance cruising. People are very creative and have come up with all kinds of accidental ways to set their boats on fire, so the danger is there!

If I had to state only 2 rules for fire fighting on boats, (1) turn off the electricity and (2) attack the fire with everything you have and don't worry about making a mess!

You can fix a mess....
Thank you - very helpful.

But remember - just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean somebody is trying to kill you...

I looked at the foam that was self extinguishing, but understood that on a boat, inside combustible walls, it would still burn as long as what covered it would burn, adding to the overall heat. Either way, I suppose it is something to consider when insulating an aluminum or steel boat.
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Old 18-06-2013, 09:54   #163
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Re: Boat Burns in Grenada!

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Originally Posted by Bluewaters2812 View Post
I don't mean to be disrespectful but quite honestly all of this speculation is completely unhelpful and quite frankly, not based on any facts. I don't know what is achieved by this sort of post? Would it not be better to wait for the proper investigation to be carried out together with the evidence from the people who were on board trying to fight the fire, rather than wild speculation and guessing? We all want to learn something if we can but it is completely premature to make assumptions surely? Maybe I am missing something?
Bluewaters , I think that if we followed your advice there would be little to talk about .People love speculation especially on a thread such as this. Everyone thinks they are an exspert .But good things do come from speculation sometimes. At the end of the day Makeing assumptions are a favorite pastime on C.F.
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Old 18-06-2013, 11:01   #164
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Re: Boat Burns in Grenada!

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Bluewaters , I think that if we followed your advice there would be little to talk about .People love speculation especially on a thread such as this. Everyone thinks they are an exspert .But good things do come from speculation sometimes. At the end of the day Makeing assumptions are a favorite pastime on C.F.
I've noticed ... for me its as bad as watching some soap on the telly lol.
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Old 18-06-2013, 11:20   #165
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Re: Boat Burns in Grenada!

Notwithstanding the comments below , just to say that your input is of great interest .

Quote:
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However it is a pretty damning statement of how poorly the government of Grenada does in properly equipping and training their Coast Guard and land based fire fighters.
Given the size of population, the fact that the country is broke and whilst not exactly African in poverty standards nonetheless only about a 1/4 of the living standards of folks in the west - methinks they did not do too badly . .......I have never been to Grenada, but the (non) results don't come as any surprise - surely folks think of the downsides before heading off to the land(s) of cheap? (or at least think there might be some?). Sometimes in life yer gotta look after yerself, as the priorities of others may lie elsewhere.

And certainly I back the decision of anyone to not go blundering around a smoke filled space when ill equipped to do so, especially only for property.

Quote:
For the lack of a functional $1,000 pump and some training, a $5 million yacht was lost.
If we think about this carefully, who do we think is best placed financially and the more motivated to spend that $1,000 on a pump and for some training?
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