New Findings in Cruise Ship Fire
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New Findings in Cruise Ship Fire


Highly flammable mooring rope - potentially as combustible as gasoline - combined with lint to fuel the blaze aboard the cruise ship Ecstasy as it headed out to sea last summer, federal investigators said Wednesday 21 April 1999.
During the first day of a two-day public hearing, the National Transportation Safety Board presented its latest findings from the investigation into the July 20, 1998 fire that caused $15 million in damage. The board will release its report this year along with safety recommendations.
Investigators determined the cause of the fire to be a spark from a welder's torch being used to repair an ironing board machine in the ship's laundry room. The fire ignited lint in the machine, causing flames to shoot up through air ducts lined with lint and letting out onto to the mooring deck, where some 7,200 pounds of polypropylene rope was stored.
The combination of the lint and the synthetic rope, which is common in the cruise ship industry, caused the fire to roar for hours, said Merritt Birky, chief technical advisor on fire and explosion for the NTSB.
''That's what caused all the damage,'' he said.
More information: Associated Press - Patricia Maldonado


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