#TBT From the NFPA Archives: The Burning of the U.S.S. Lafayette - February 9, 1942

Blog Post created by jrodowicz Employee on Feb 9, 2017

U.S.S. Lafayette lays on her side at her North River berth in New York harbor (International)

The remains of the U.S.S. Lafayette on the Hudson River following a five alarm fire.


On February 9, 1942, the U.S.S. Lafayette (formerly the Normandie) caught fire during its conversion from a French luxury liner to an American troop ship. Built in 1931, this ship was the first to be constructed following the guidelines in the 1929 Convention for Safety of Life at Sea.


From Volunteer Firemen v.9, no.3, 1942:

Thus fire again has struck a major blow against America's war effort. This vessel, which was France's greatest luxury liner broke the speed record for the Atlantic crossing on its maiden voyage, was being converted for use as a troopship... the fire was not attributed to sabotage but to careless operation of an acetylene torch.


For more information regarding this or other historic fires, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Library. The NFPA Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic. Library staff are available to answer reference questions from members and the general public.