Fire on dive boat Conception in CA

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outofofficebrb

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Something that has not been mentioned (I apologize if I have just missed it) is the effect that waking up from sleep has on awareness of surroundings and personal response time. This happens at 3 o’clock in the morning after a day or 2 of diving. People are exhausted and many are probably sleeping soundly. While I have never been in a boat fire, I have been in an apartment fire. My roommates and I were awakened at 5 am by people outside yelling, trying to wake everyone up. Fortunately for us the fire was moving slowly, because it took us a few minutes to fully clear our heads from sleep so that we could understand what was going on and to assess the situation. While we all made it out safely, I’m still amazed how long it took to fully wake up and completely understand what was happening. It’s doubful that anyone on board woke up with complete realization of what was happening.

Don't forget that some people may have also been wearing earplugs, as is common in bunk situations, but also on liveaboards due to engine/generator noises and just general noises. That would affect how long it would take someone to awaken, if they awoke at all, and the amount of time to come to and become aware of what's happening.
 

shoredivr

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Don't forget that some people may have also been wearing earplugs, as is common in bunk situations, but also on liveaboards due to engine/generator noises and just general noises. That would affect how long it would take someone to awaken, if they awoke at all, and the amount of time to come to and become aware of what's happening.
Another thing to cross off my list. Earplugs.
 

infieldg

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Well if nothing else, hopefully this exonerates the crew (as I think it will turn out) and people can stop blaming them from jumping from a burning ship

I hope so too, especially if reports that one of them lost his girlfriend to the fire are true. When I read that, and that one broke an ankle, I figured the moment they discovered the fire and rushed to the entrance to below decks, there was literally nothing anyone could have done :(

The NTSB will determine if mistakes were made by one or more crew members in not detecting the fire sooner, but anyone suggesting they didn't stry hard enough has no soul. Imagine being accused of that, especially when you lost someone you love. Not cool.
 

HalcyonDaze

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I hope so too, especially if reports that one of them lost his girlfriend to the fire are true. When I read that, and that one broke an ankle, I figured the moment they discovered the fire and rushed to the entrance to below decks, there was literally nothing anyone could have done :(

The NTSB will determine if mistakes were made by one or more crew members in not detecting the fire sooner, but anyone suggesting they didn't stry hard enough has no soul. Imagine being accused of that, especially when you lost someone you love. Not cool.

Based on this interview, in order to get to the belowdecks entrance they had to jump off the bridge, swim to the stern, and reboard. If they had to get down that way, it would indicate the aft stairs down from the sundeck were unusable by the time the crew was able to react.

"I'm Numb": Boat Owner on Deadly Fire Near Santa Cruz Island
 

oncor23

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This seems logical, until you consider a smoke detector within a few feet of a grill.
Sorry...since I'm king (remember), you will need to place your grill somewhere it won't be a hazard and won't set off one of the required smoke detectors. If you can't find a good spot...NO GRILL. There, that wasn't hard to solve now, was it?
 

Hiszpan

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Has anyone else noticed a white box with a red sign "GASOLINE" on the deck of Vision in of the videos posted here, couple of hundreds posts ago? (The latest and longest one I think). It was on the dive deck I think, towards the aft end of it.
I'm intrigued as everything was supposed to be electric/diesel on those boats.(unless Gasoline meant Diesel).

Also just a thought like someone already pointed out - if main stairs from bunk area and escape hatch open to the same galley area, that only has exit at one end, it's not the most foolproof design :(

As mentioned here the crew opened the door to see if they can reach the passengers but the galley was on fire. That means there is only 1 exit for the 2 egress points from bunk area. Would make more sense putting another exit from the galley area at the fore of it, next to the staircase leading from the bunk area, for the easy of exit during emergencies (the video showing someone walking all the way from galley entrance to the fore of it where it's winding and tight and opens up to a staircase - it looks tight to walk it even without emergency...).
 

HalcyonDaze

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Has anyone else noticed a white box with a red sign "GASOLINE" on the deck of Vision in of the videos posted here, couple of hundreds posts ago? (The latest and longest one I think). It was on the dive deck I think, towards the aft end of it.
I'm intrigued as everything was supposed to be electric/diesel on those boats.(unless Gasoline meant Diesel).

Also just a thought like someone already pointed out - if main stairs from bunk area and escape hatch open to the same galley area, that only has exit at one end, it's not the most foolproof design :(

As mentioned here the crew opened the door to see if they can reach the passengers but the galley was on fire. That means there is only 1 exit for the 2 egress points from bunk area. Would make more sense putting another exit from the galley area at the fore of it, next to the staircase leading from the bunk area, for the easy of exit during emergencies (the video showing someone walking all the way from galley entrance to the fore of it where it's winding and tight and opens up to a staircase - it looks tight to walk it even without emergency...).

There would have been gasoline for the outboard on the dinghy; however as noted that was at the stern, which was the last area the fire reached.

As far as the exits, the aft emergency exit looks like it should have been a clear shot to the outside deck a few feet away. I inquired earlier about whether there was an alternative exit through the forward galley windows.
 

Diver2019

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here is a MUCH better one of a boat closer in size and construction.

In this VERY SHORT video you can see how quickly a vessel can be engulfed


Is it just me or were people taking just way too long to get off that boat, especially since the water was so shallow, it appeared to be waist/chest deep?


This video is actually misleading. If you watch carefully, you would notice at 1:16, the camera shaked and then cut. Since 1:17 it is a totally new video clip. I do believe the fire spread quickly, but not that fast.
 

Ron Lee

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ok, it went from smoking moderately with no fire visible to almost comply engulfed in about a minute and a half.

If you don't feel this shows how quickly the fire can get bad..best video I could find.

I burn a lot of wood to heat my home. There are times when the amount of hot coals are diminished when I add new wood.

At some point there is enough heat to generate a lot of smoke but no flame. Typically I can open the door and the increased airflow may cause the new wood to ignite. Or I throw a match in and the wood catches fire. The smoke level quickly drops to near zero once the flames start up. That is what it looks like to me. Wood smoking on the edge of flame erupting.

Some have stated that this was an extremely rare event and possibly by inference there is no need to take action to prevent a recurrence. I disagree. If it was so rare it would not have happened.

A. Personally, I would look at the logical fire origin possibilities and see what I could do to reduce or eliminate them.

Assumption 1: It was caused by a battery failure while being charged.
Possible actions: No battery charging after TBD time...which might be an hour or so before bedtime IF there is a latency risk after charging is ended.

B. Bunk area evacuation needs to be addressed.

Option 1: Remove beds under the emergency hatch and install a ladder oriented so that as you go up you are facing the opening in the cabinet above you.

Option 2: If any area in the bunk room is adequately above the waterline, mark out a suitable area that can be seen in the dark such that the battery powered chainsaw available can be used to create an opening. Passengers don a PFD that is at each bunk and exit through the side. Suitable storage area for the chainsaw is required. If the side is plywood and fiberglass I could have an opening large enough for even me quickly. Maybe this weekend I will simulate it on a scrap of plywood I have. I can nail it to two saw horses so the plywood is vertical. Guess on hole size is 2.5 feet wide by 2 feet high.

C. Night overwatch: If not done it should be such that fires are found in a timely manner as well as alerting people below.

D. Other safety improvements may be tied to detection, alerting, suppression, etc. Consider smoke hoods at each bunk.
 

KevinNM

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There would have been gasoline for the outboard on the dinghy; however as noted that was at the stern, which was the last area the fire reached.

As far as the exits, the aft emergency exit looks like it should have been a clear shot to the outside deck a few feet away. I inquired earlier about whether there was an alternative exit through the forward galley windows.
The problem likely was the entire room was on fire. The floor, walls and ceiling. With the air superheated and loaded with highly toxic gases.
 
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