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Old 11-08-2016, 05:29   #1
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The danger of fire

Fire is one of the scariest hazards on the boat. If detected late, will be very hard to put out, It will spread faster than you can imagine and if you are unfortunate it will result in you having to jump into a shark infested sea, far from land, without a lifejacket or liferaft and without much hope of rescue.

That is exactly what happened to these people in their harrowing tale:

https://sandpyper.blogspot.co.uk/201...=1470470917951
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Old 11-08-2016, 06:30   #2
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Re: The danger of fire

yes. sandpiper is a boat i knew from my 2011 visit to mazatlan. as the story goes, these folks were in damnear exact middle of soc hanging on to fenders when some friends in a power boat rescued them. whether their friends saw the plume of smoke or how they learned of problem is a lil fuzzy, but their friends found and rescued them.
as la paz is 180 or so miles from mazatlan, these folks were in a helluva fix before found by friends. drifting in middle of a 90 mile wide gulf with no sight of land-- i say is a f****d up day. they were very very fortunate the weather was decent.
this was not an ill prepped boat, but a beautiful and well maintained one.
fires on boats are scary and horrible. their plight coulda been experienced by any of us. i am glad they are safe and well. a burn heals. the experience remains in memory.
i hope they get another boat and continue this life.
we lost too any boats this year--rage was blown into rocks in la cruz, sea boa was sunk by a sleeping whale, and sandpiper..all 2016. hard year here.
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Old 11-08-2016, 09:47   #3
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Re: The danger of fire

Yikes, quite a story. Some good lessons learned, especially using water to cool the site.
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Old 11-08-2016, 16:03   #4
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Re: The danger of fire

I'll be working on my fire hose and smoke alarm and to prep a fast abandon ship plan.
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Old 12-08-2016, 06:59   #5
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Re: The danger of fire

seems the lesson of sandpiper is keep your turbo charged engine cool. make sure the insulation in the engine room isnt going to burn when the turbo is hot, which happens as tuirbos cause engines to run hotter.... funny how that works. check your insulation and make sure you will not enjoy a toasty fire on board in middle of soc.

prevention is always easier then extinguishing.....
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Old 12-08-2016, 07:11   #6
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Re: The danger of fire

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Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
seems the lesson of sandpiper is keep your turbo charged engine cool. make sure the insulation in the engine room isnt going to burn when the turbo is hot, which happens as tuirbos cause engines to run hotter.... funny how that works. check your insulation and make sure you will not enjoy a toasty fire on board in middle of soc.
Indeed, an important lesson. Prevention, rather than cure.

I had a near miss from a similar situation. The turbo insulation got a gap in it, which I hadn't noticed. A hose got loose and moved near, but not touching the hot turbocharger and it smouldered, filling the engine room with smoke. It nearly caught fire. A smoke alarm alerted me. A lucky escape.
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Old 12-08-2016, 07:28   #7
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Re: The danger of fire

sounds like you had good timing.. all is in the timing of the inspection. i always inspect and test stuff before i leave so mebbe 50 miles out i donot experience issues. and, when in mexico, it is intelligent to recheck all after the gringo workers touch it, as many of those repairing souls one believes to be trustworthy are not so. i use mexicans and find mexicans have more accountibility and better workmanship and donot remove parts from engines repaired. . i recheck ALL before departure.

these turbo mayhem stories are scary enough to remind me to remain unturbocharged. i had enough issues with automotive turbos to not trust em in boats... i sooo love my plain old perkins 4 108. awesome workhorse. always runs at 160f
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Old 12-08-2016, 08:16   #8
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Re: The danger of fire

Very good article.
Important lessons in it.

A few key points:
In five minutes the boat was engulfed in flames!
Though the boat had a dinghy on stern davits and a life raft and PFDs, none of those were accessible once the fire took over the cockpit.

Multiple fire extinguishers were used and still the fire won.
The fire extinguishers used were not the best choice. Buckets of water were suggested.
One fire extinguisher failed to operate.

Hospital care in some cases can be very expensive, even in a third world country.
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Old 12-08-2016, 08:26   #9
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Re: The danger of fire

had their friends not been cruising not tooo far away, these folks may never have made it to a hospital. they were in middle of soc well out of sight of land trying to get to mazatlan from la paz, 180 miles. they were treading water holding fenders. they are extremely fortunate folks.

i think sometimes we forget we are sailing wood trimmed petroleum based accelerants away from the fire house. oh yes we even include multiple sources of flame in this process.
there are only our wimpy fire extinguishers to keep us busy as everything becomes a hotter flame than the last one.
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Old 12-08-2016, 08:35   #10
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Re: The danger of fire

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Yikes, quite a story. Some good lessons learned, especially using water to cool the site.
But if it's an oil fire, water is the wrong answer. All you see is flames, how do you know?
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Old 12-08-2016, 08:43   #11
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Re: The danger of fire

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But if it's an oil fire, water is the wrong answer. All you see is flames, how do you know?
Good question. I am no fire fighter, but this is my take on it:

It is a matter of observation and judgement, or quick thinking.
In this case the aft stateroom had a mattress on fire. Mattresses and wood beneath would be a good prospect for throwing water on the flames. They used the powder type extinguisher, and it appeared to extinguish the surface flames, but the fire came back. Dousing it with water (to cool the materials below flash fire point ) is what the after action report suggests.

Also, the report mentions the fact that the powder in the air made it impossible for the crew to remain below fighting the fire.
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Old 12-08-2016, 08:45   #12
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Re: The danger of fire

Also read the account in this post about another quickly spreading fire:

Terrible story shared on FB of boat fire
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Old 12-08-2016, 08:48   #13
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Re: The danger of fire

Yep. Fire is pretty bad hazard.

I think the most common, or one of the very common reasons, is the wiring area: I know of at least 4 boats that burnt all the way to the waterplane because of electrical fires.

Keep your installations very clean, very tidy and very fused.

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Old 12-08-2016, 08:58   #14
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Re: The danger of fire

Although I have been laxsidaisical (sp?) about having them, it seems a Halon in the engine room is a very important safety item to have, that many don't think about..
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Old 12-08-2016, 09:16   #15
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Re: The danger of fire

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Although I have been laxsidaisical (sp?) about having them, it seems a Halon in the engine room is a very important safety item to have, that many don't think about..
These are certainly hood, but expensive. I t may not have changed the outcome in the OP case as they extinguished the initial fire with a fire extinguisher. Getting the area cooled would have stopped it reigniting.

Putting a fire port on your engine room is a very cheap and useful addition.
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