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Old 28-02-2006, 17:25   #1
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San Diego Marina Fire

Monday - February 27, 2006

A San Diego Marina Blaze caused more than $5 million in damage; no one was injured.

Five yachts were destroyed and two others damaged by a swift-moving fire at a San Diego marina Monday (Feb. 27/06).

Fire officials estimate the blaze at the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina caused more than $5 million in damage, according to a report in the San Diego Union Tribune.

A smoke alarm woke a woman aboard one of the boats around 2:30 a.m., and she found heavy smoke coming from the boat’s circuit breaker, according to the paper. The woman and another passenger fled the burning boat.

The fire then spread to other boats docked nearby. No one was injured. More than 50 firefighters battled the blaze.
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Old 01-03-2006, 06:34   #2
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Ugh

http://www.nbc4.tv/slideshow/news/75...s;p=news;w=400
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Old 01-03-2006, 17:42   #3
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When faced with a fire, you have to quickly decide whether to fight it or escape. If you escape, you might lose the boat. If you try to fight the fire and fail, you might end up dead and still lose the boat.

Since a lot of people who die in fires are actually killed by the smoke, I can't be sure that evacuating the area wasn't the right thing to do.

These people may well spend a lot of time wondering if they did the right thing, but they have to accept that they did what seemed right at the time - 2:30 am, in a boat filling with smoke.
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Old 01-03-2006, 19:49   #4
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Total bummer. IMHO, if you see flames inside the boat, and you are outside the boat. stay outside the boat. From experience, I can tell you that you will very quickly become disoriented in heavy smoke and panick.You cannot hold you breath long enough to fight the fire. Training is very important, but so is knowing when to run. On most boats, the electrical panel is within 10' of a propane line, or other source of combustable fuel. If you have never witnessed a propane explosion, I can tell you, you will not forget it. Having experienced several fatality situations, the first and most important thing I learned in dealing with it, is to realize that the decisions I made at the moment were the right ones at the moment. Never second guess. If you take from something like this, a lesson on what to do differently next time, it is only that. If you had the information before, you might have done thigs differently, but you didn't.
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Old 01-03-2006, 21:03   #5
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First rule of fire on a boat. Shout FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!. Yep that's fire three times and quickly assess the situation. If an extinguisher is handy, you can try to use it. But you MUST have a safe means of retreat should the fire not go out.

Second rule of fire on a boat. GET OUT. If you can, shut the door to the compartment behind you,(this starves the fire of oxygen and will slow it down) but GET OUT!

Third rule. Ensure all are out and safe.

Fourth rule. Call for help on 911 (NZ=111) or if you have an emergency call button on the marina, you hit it.

Then and ONLY THEN, do you consider fighting the fire. You have to assess if it is safe enough and if you are capable of doing such. If you are not sure, you stay away. You do not want to be fighting a fire from inside the boat. You have ameans of escape at all times. However, you are probably better serving by warning any liveaboards int he marina. No matter how far away they are. Once a boat fire starts, it can be unbelievably quick.
A fire will go from a stage of causing a smoke detector to go off, to a deadly scenario in about 30seconds. Smoke will very quickly over come you. YOU CAN NOT hold your breath. Don't even think of this. If you get a small inhalation of smoke, you will cough uncontrollably, and the second inhallation is usually deadly. The thick smoke can also be increadibly hot and inhaling it will cause certain death. If that doesn't get you, in about 60seconds, you can not see your way out and the heat build up is emense. After 1 1/2 min. the flames will be engulfing the room and it would be pure suicide to be in their. A boat will be fully ablaze and unsavable in about 2 1/2 to 3 min.

Rule of all rules: The boat and Marina is insured. (or should be).No boat is worth losing a life for. Forget the boat.
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Old 01-03-2006, 21:21   #6
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Old 01-03-2006, 23:38   #7
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Fire

I was on a boat when the carburetor back fired. This can happen on 302 Ford motors when the timing chain skips a tooth. With the carburetor on fire and the possibility of an explosion, what are you going to do? It is not your boat and you do not know if there is a fire extinguisher on board, meanwhile the carb is burning. Make a decision real quick, the fire is two feet from your nose.
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Old 01-03-2006, 23:40   #8
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Yes but you have to remember you were living in exceptional circumstances K. Part of your job/life was dealing emergencies.
I too have been trained, but with a different emphasis on how to deal with the emergency. My first responsibility is to the safety of the public as first priority and the asset as second.
I would also expect if the boat that caught fire in the marina, had have been out at sea, then the circumstances would greatly change. It may mean to the crew onboard, that the survivla of their ship is in direct relationship to their own survival. Then you would view the response very differently. But the basic principles still stand. You have to ensure your own safety first, then others second and then the asset. You are no good to anyone if you are unconciouse or dead.
I imagine even your training followed several similar principles. Someone would have been responsible in fighting the fire. Someone would have been responsible of saving and the safety of the crew. I also imagine an area would undergo a lockdown till the fire was under control.
The first thing usually drummed into boaties in theevent of a fire, especially in an engine room fire, is to lock it down. Close off all possible ways of air getting into the room and slow the ability of the fire to travel elswhere.

An emergency, no matter what it is, follows the same rule every time. It'slike when the oxygen mask drops on an Airplane. You put yours on first, then help anyone beisde you who may need help. Someone is unconciouse form electrocution, you ensure the area is safe first, before rushing in to help them. A fire is the same. You ensure your safety, others that maybe on the boat, then think about fighting the fire. But all the time having in mind, it is better to lose your asset than lose your life. It'seasy to replace a boat. There are a lot for sale out there.
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Old 02-03-2006, 05:48   #9
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I have to agree with Kai Nui & Alan Wheeler regards fire safety afloat. They've both provided excellent advice.

In my non-professional opinion (not comprehensive):

Upon discovering, or even suspecting fire

1. ALERT/ALARM: Sound the ‘general alarm’, alerting all hands to muster on deck, and prepare to abandon ship. Designate a specific crewmember to issue a “Mayday” (911 if docked, whatever), requesting assistance.
Designate a crewmember to remove all flammables (gasoline, propane, etc) from danger, and disconnect shore power* (if connected).
2. ESCAPE: Determine that you have a maintained escape route, and use it if it appears anywhere near ‘momentary’.
Take Fire Extinguishers with you. A portable Fire Extinguisher's first function is to clear an escape path, and only secondarily to fight a fire.

Only if your safe egress will remain assured (for ‘some’ time)
3.INVESTIGATE: The source, and determine if it’s feasible to fight the fire.
Only then should you consider fighting a fire, if it appears safe to do so.
4. Fight fire, if feasible, for no more than two minutes. Do NOT continue to fight a fire that is spreading or growing. Do not enter a smoke-filled compartment.

Kevin:
Although you may be a qualified firefighter, and imagine yourself on an extremely well-equipped boat - your scenario assumes unrealistic fire-fighting capabilities for most other cruisers and the equipage.
ie:
1. I’ve never seen a sailboat, under 60 feet, that had a Fixed Fire Suppression System, which would preclude most of us from “pulling the handle” on the Halon.
2. Halons have been banned (Montreal Protocols) for some time now. There are modern replacement chemicals.
3. I’ve never seen a Scott AirPac (sic) on any size cruising sailboat.
4. Most of us have little knowledge, and less experience in firefighting, or have even practiced the proper operation of a portable fire extinguisher.

Any fire on a boat is a critical emergency condition, and justifies an immediate Mayday, even as the crew reaches for fire extinguishers, escapes topside (PFD’s on), and prepares to abandon ship.

Fight a fire yourself if and only if:

1 It's small and confined to the immediate area where it started. Generally, if you don't get to it within two minutes, you're probably too late.

2 You have a way out and can fight with your back to the exit.

3 Your extinguisher is rated for the class of fire at hand. Burning fiberglass is extremely hot and gives off noxious fumes. If fiberglass is burning, get off the boat immediately.

4 You are competent in fire-fighting technique. If you have the slightest doubt about whether you can contain the fire, don't even try. Your first concern is the safety of the people aboard.


FWIW,
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Old 02-03-2006, 20:30   #10
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THanks GORD. Unfortunately, Kevin's thoughts on this are not in the minority. It is common to underestimate the danager that a fire actually presents.
I am going to relate a story here that provides a trgic example of what can go wrong.
In 1998, we has two friends living in a trailer on our property. The trailer was located on one ridge, and our house was on another. It was about a half mile up and back down between the two. (This will come into play in a minute). Memorial day weekend, we were hanging out having drinks. They went back home to the trailer about 2am.
About 6am I woke up. Not really sure why, but I looked out the window and saw our friend Christy running down the driveway naked. I was in shock, and yelled to my wife to get up. At this point, I could hear here screaming, but could not make out what she was saying. All I could think was that her boyfriend beat her up and she was running to us for help. I grabbed a sheet and ran out to her. It was at that point that I noticed that her hair was badly singed. All she said was "he ble us up". About the third time she said it I grasped what she was saying and looked over at the trailer to see flames. We got her into the house and called the ambulance. At this point, we were able to get the story from her. He had placed a propane lantern on top of the kerosene heater, not realizing the heater was on. She heard it start to hiss, and got up to move the lamp. When she grabbed it, it exploded. She was blown out the door. (Later, when we were cleaning up the damage, we saw here imprint in the door that was lying about 15' away from the trailer.) She said she kept trying to go in to get him, but the fire was too hot. (He was blown back into the trailer) In all she tried to go into the fire 4 times.
THe description of what he went through would discourage anyone from getting near a fire. The last ime she was concsious was when we put her on the stretcher to load into Lifeflight.
Would she have survived if she had not tried to go into the burning trailer? Based on what she said, and what the paramedics said, yes. Obvious reasons aside, she made the decision to go in based partially on the fact that "it didn't look that bad", the propane line to the stove had burst from the heat, and and the firemen believe that she was running through an invisible propane flame that was blowing like a torch each time she went in. She survived 5 days. I have left out allot of detail because this is still very hard to write about.
I have some firefighter training, but am not by any means a professional fire fighter. My training tells me priority #1human life Priority #2 property. Because of the risks of toxic gasses, invisible flame, and the fact that fires on boats often start in enclosed spaces that will immediately explode if air is introduced, I STAY OUT! I know of no firefighter that will enter a burning boat (Cruising boat), unless it is to extract a person.
With all due respect Kevin, a fire aboard a tin can is in no way similar to one on a cruising boat. All the ship board fire fighter training in the world will not give you the superhuman abilities needed to run into a smoke filled boat and extinguish a fire, while holding your breath. The best equipment available will not bring the risk to an acceptable level. When considering the risk to life, it is just not worth entering a confined space to save a $40000 or even $400000 boat.
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Old 02-03-2006, 23:35   #11
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Scott, there are simply no words, but please accept my deepest sympathies.
I was very lucky myself when I was a young wee lad. We were just kids, and my friends and I built a hut in the top of a large haybarn. It was a real work of art, with a long tunnel into it. Very cool fun. Anyway's, one particular day, for some reason I was not with my friends. I don't even remember why. But one decided to bring along a Kerosene lantern to light the hut a bit better. It was knocked over and the hay caught fire. Only one managed to find his way out and ran for help. I lost four of my friends that day.
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Old 02-03-2006, 23:42   #12
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Yeah, Kai.

Sorry to hear about your neighbor's!!

Guy's I'm just talking sh!t. I wouldn't dare board a boat if it was on fire!! I'm not that crazy!!!

But I am working on a invention that will probably make incidents like at the San Diego marina, a thing of ancient history.

You can call it making money while I cruise? What'da think?
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Old 02-03-2006, 23:45   #13
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Hey Kai.

When I come out there. Maybe I'll discuss this idea. Maybe you and me could be partners? Huh?
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Old 02-03-2006, 23:53   #14
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Is it called a garden sprinkler. Nothing can catch fire then eh K
Arrr sorry mate, my sense of humour isn't firing well tonight. I think I need an early night.
Hey I don't think there is anything wrong necessarily, with the way you would approach a fire. As I said above, you have been trained to responed in a very different way to most of us. Emergencies are a fact of life in a war situation. So it would be silly to expect everyone to rush to the life boat and watch the ship burn now wouldn't it.

Now that brings up an interesting point to discuss I reckon. So how would ones consider the best cause of action, should they and their family be at sea and are awoken with fire.
For that matter, should we throw in a few other situations here to discuss. So how about this.
What would you do in the event of
1: Fire
2: Water at a high level in boat
3: boat ultimately sinking.
And any situation you may think important??
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Old 03-03-2006, 00:05   #15
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Well if I was at sea. This is what "I" would do. Anybody else could do what I mention. Or do it differently?

Fire. Depnding exactly where the fire started at. I would yell FIRE. Have everybody move away. Reorganize. Grab equipment. And try to put it out. Providing how much smoke is inside the boat.

Smoke. If whatever is on fire. And it puts out too much smoke. And if I do have a something like a Scott pak. To wear to breath with. I would try and thing put the fire out while wearing the device.
Or: If I didn't have a Scott air pak. I would try my best as quickly as I could to put the fire out. If not. Abandon the boat.

Water at high level!

I would check to see if the bildge pumps weren't clogged with garbage. And then try manual pumping. While the others use buckets (pails) to remove water.

If water level doesn't lower after trying to remove water. Abandon boat.

Abandoning the boat.

Bring out the abandon boat bag. The bag would have EPIRB. And other survival gear. Emergency rations. Water. Fire distress kit. Handheld VHF radio. Would be in the bag.

Lower and inflate liferaft. Everyone would have a PFD (floatation vest). And jump into the water. And board the liferaft.

That's what I would do?
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