Two Firefighters Die in Cargo Ship Fire at Port in Newark

“Members made an attempt to extinguish the fire but got pushed back by the intense heat. Two firefighters were lost while conducting this action of backing out of the structure,” Newark Fire Chief Rufus Jackson said.

My ship responded to a fire on the Angelia Lauro in St. Thomas - a real long time ago. I was on a fire team that boarded to identify the hot spots, assest the situation, and put out what we could while investigating. I had had significant fire fighting training - but to this day I can remember it so clearly - we opened the paint locker and hit the flames with a water spray - and we got hit back in the face with pure steam - it didn’t last long - but it was intense - we all got down and the hose man put a spray on us - but it was scary.

In all the training we had - i don’t think we ever covered that blast back of steam.


This is horrible. No hunk of insured steel is worth any person’s life.


Here’s a paywall work around to the article:

(note, using Internet Archive works for most paywalls assuming that the article has been archived)


Two newark firefighters were killed last night fighting a fire aboard the Grande Coast D’Avorio at berth 16 at port Newark.

The article says cars were burning but contained to the 11 and 12 decks.

Ship is a combo container and ro/ro .

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Can’t these ships close the doors and dump either water or some other suppressant?

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Article says both decks had Halon. RORO’s I’ve worked in basically had enough Halon/CO2 for one deck and one dump. So if you missed the first shot you were SOL.

Article also said they had extinguished the main body but it had spread. So it sounds like maybe they had taken their shot but it was beyond that by then.


From what I recall working on a similar vessel, deck 6 through 11 are all one zone for the LP CO2 system and, for the cargo zones, it could do one dump.

The articles don’t mention the name of the vessel but it looks like it’s the Grande Costa D’Avorio based off of Marine Traffic. To get an idea of the cargo hold in question, the containers are stacked on deck 6. The zone that the fire is in would be from deck 6 up to the underside of deck 12, which is the same deck that the bridge is on:

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From pictures in this article, they did not button up the cargohold. The fire boat in the second image is aiming at the 12 deck watertight door and it is in the open position:


I don’t want to speculate but I wonder if E/V lithium batteries were involved

I’m not sure if it was in the article or if I heard it somewhere else but that electric vehicles were not involved

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No, it was used cars going to Haiti or West Africa. Not really the Tesla crowd.


There is never enough training to tackle a shipboard fire.

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If professional firemen, who train rigorously and consistently, are injured/die in a fire, it shows that the average ship crew truly has no business attempting some sort of entry.


If the fire can be contained and extinguished with Fixed Systems you or should really never try to make entry unless you absolutely have to. Just keep up the boundary cooling.


Most of the cars exported on that service have mechanical problems and aren’t up to standards in the developed world. Unsurprising that one would catch fire.

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From an NY7 article:

“Newark’s fire chief says his department did not have adequate training or equipment to deal with the flames and that dealing with cars filled with gas on a cargo ship is extremely difficult.”

This is a training issue. You mean to tell me a fire department that has some of the East Coasts largest marine terminals in its back yard does not have adequate Marine Firefighting training?

From a NYtimes article:

"A fire had erupted late Wednesday on an Italian cargo ship carrying 1,200 new and used automobiles headed for West Africa. Firefighters who raced to the scene from Engine 16 quickly learned that their standard, 2.5-inch hose lines would not connect to the equipment on the European-built ship, the Grande Costa d’Avorio.

They were forced to use the vessel’s one-inch firefighting hoses, Newark’s mayor, Ras J. Baraka, would later explain."

Guess no one in that department has heard of an international shore connection? Again, a training issue.

Very sad


Not a very accurate statement.

Also the ship personnel should have been able to help with that.


With todays shipping I bet they were all onboard too, it’s not like shore leave exists for them.