Today in fire history: cruise ship fire kills two, injures 57

Blog Post created by ryan.quinn Employee on Aug 20, 2012

On August, 20, 1984, a fire onboard a cruise ship docking at the port of Miami, Florida resulted in two fatalities and fifty-seven injuries among passengers, crew, and City of Miami firefighters.  The fire was discovered just after the ship had completing docking, and originated in an engine room.  It was caused by the ignition of lubricating oil leaking from an engine which drove one of the ship’s generators.  The fire extended six decks above the machine room through a ladder access way and open doors. 

The fire forced many of the passengers, who were in the process of disembarking, to remain onboard until the fire was extinguished.  The fatalities (one passenger and one crew member) were found in their cabins during a search of the ship.  Major factors contributing to the loss of life in this fire included:

  • Failure to extinguish the fire in its incipient stage
  • Rapid and intense flash fire resulting from the ignition of the lubricating oil
  • Rapid horizontal and vertical spread of fire, mainly via open doors
  • Presence of combustible interior finish materials in passageways and in the stairtower

NFPA members can download the full investigation report for free.