A very sad business. As has been commented on many times, a $20 smoke/CO detector would have prevented it.
I note that none of the victims were found in their bunks, and that one had a flashlight in their hand, while another person was holding a cellphone. Was it used as a flashlight? Which means at least one or two people tried to escape.
CO without particulate smoke can kill you in your sleep. But particulate smoke generally wakes people.
Untrained people usually stand in the presence of smoke, rather than staying close to the deck. Standing puts their heads precisely where they can’t see, while smoke inhalation causes them to panic, on the way to unconsciousness.
If some people did hit the deck on the way to the exits, the standing people would have tripped over or trampled them. In fires like this, victims are often found clustered near the exits, tangled in their panic to escape. But some of the victims here, as reported by the AP story, were found on the surface. Of course, as the boat sank the remains could have shifted to some degree.
The linked news story is not as informative as the story it further links to:
The CO detector wouldn’t have mattered, they died of smoke inhalation leading to CO poisoning and (happily) before the burns. Body position discussion was more detailed in the story as well.
“Smoke inhalation was listed as the cause of death for all 34 victims, “which created lethal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood,” said Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Lt. Erik Raney. The extensive fourth- and fifth-degree burns found on their bodies occurred post-mortem, he said. DNA and tattoos were used to make most of the identifications.”
Had my life saved by a CO/smoke detector. Not having them on a vessel is inexcusable. I don’t care if they are required or not by the USCG. They are $50.
They had smoke detectors, which were required. And if the passengers were found as described, probably going off. But were they going off in the crew space?
Smoke comes from fire. What started the fire? Some theorys were the lithium battery chargers overheating. Not having a dependable night watch didn’t help matters.
And were the batteries in, or out? I’ve inspected many a cabin and found the batteries removed from the detector, so the occupant could smoke in their cabin.
I was more wondering if the passenger space detectors alarmed the pilot house, and not the crew cabins based on the premise that they would have a roving night watchman so why pipe an alarm to the crew space. Were the passenger space detectors even wired to the other units like in a home at all? And yeah, battery or AC… really want to see these investigation reports to get more info.
The battery origin theory is just a theory, as the other thread discussed. Plenty of wood finished interiors have gone up based on plain old electrical hazards. But early detection, response and raising the alarm all connect at the missing required watchman, no scenario where that isn’t the single factor that led to the consequences being so dire.
I don’t disagree regarding the watch, not at all. Yes, it was discussed at length in another thread. This new thread tells how they died, but not the cause of the fire, which could be many things. Most of the clues were probably destroyed.
Maybe, but a lot of possible evidence probably was recovered. Just looking at the breakers in the engineroom recovered from the bottom may tell a tale. Rating of breakers, repair/modification records kept by owner, talk to contractors who did electrical work, interview to figure out who brought what kind of electronics and what the limits on the chargers specific to those devices might be, examine other boats in the company control, test the varnishes on them for flammability, ignitability… there’s lots of possible avenues to explore.
Perhaps, if those records are available.