Real World Fire Drills


I’m looking for a few examples of shipboard fires that I can incorporate into drills on my vessel.

If you have ever had a fire onboard please share your knowledge.



Dirty air filter on a diesel engine. (Lots of smoke!)

Cruppled discarded rag soaked in vegatable based oil. (like linseed, spontanious combustion!)

Overloaded, poor quality power strip. (ignites secondary fires!)

Adjacent compartent involvenment via heat.

statistically fires in the galley, storage lockers, wheelhouse and lounge/staterooms are definite concerns…suprised your sms doesn’t have a firefighting “training matrix”.

Laundry room fires, specifically dryers.

Fire on a cruise ship that never made the news.

Caused by a crewmember smoking at 0300 in the bottom of an old cargo hold. Near as we can figure, he/she was sitting on a stack of old carpets, directly under a No Smoking sign. Smoky, smoldering fire took 45 minutes to put out, with all the pax at boat stations.

What makes it a great case study is that we lost comms with the C/M (VHF) due to the location deep inside the hull. The declaration was made that we had to assume he was dead, and proceed to Plan B. :eek: Fire team 2 went in, found Fire team one, joined forces, and put out the fire.

Good News: Company bought us an infrared camera, and improved comm system (repeater stations/antennas):slight_smile:
Bad News: We were very very lucky- that old hold was filled with combustibles.:frowning:

While standing by offshore captain was doing some welding on his watch for his shrimp boat in the engine room of our tug. Caught some oily rags on fire and didn’t know it. Small flame but alot of smoke by the time it was noticed. Fire hose handlers had the nozzle opened as they entered the engine room and when the water was turned on it hit the main electric panel knocking out all power and the ability to put out the fire ourselves :eek:. Had to call for assistance from company tug that was nearby. Thank God they were nearby :).
Other notes: 1979, no SCBA, very little firefighting training and never any drills.

Norwegian Dawn crew cabin fire, crew member had a candle next to the bed under a lamp and some clothing. The crew member left to get food and the ship movement caused a piece of clothing to fall from its hook and land on the lamp igniting from the heat of the candle. The fire didnt spread from the cabin but completely destroyed the crew cabin and damaged the others next to it. Nobody injured and crew members did as required with evacuation and containment.

Wow, a candle on ship, an unattended candle at that. I am sure that went over very poorly with the home office after the accident investigation.

One area that is not stressed enough are the reefer spaces.

CFCs (freon) gives off phosgene gas when burned. Phosgene (aka mustard gas) will corrode almost any metal. There are many photos available as to what it will do to human tissue.

Thanks for all the comments thus far…

Working on a older, non-SOLAS vessel, without any engine room heat/fire alarms, and with no turnout gear or SCBA. Fire is one of my greatest concerns.

Of course there are many areas onboard that are statistically the more common areas for fires. The non-typical situations, and the lessons learned from others following fires are what I believe would benefit myself and my crew the most.

Thanks again,