Fire aboard the USS Washington

Discussion in 'SitRep' started by evangilder, May 24, 2008.

  1. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    The part that concerned me was that it "burned for hours".
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Wow thankgod everyone is okay!

    I am interested in hearing why this happened.
     
  3. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    From what I have been able to find out, it looks like it was either along a cable raceway or some duct work, which made it difficult to get at and made it easier to spread. The skipper said that the firefighting efforts were "heroic".
     
  4. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    One of the lessons the RN learnt in the Falklands was how fast fires can spread along cables. Normal proceedure on board ship with a fire is to contain it, basically ensure all the doors are shut and let it burn itself out which of course takes time.
    However its easier said than done as the fires can spread along cables and it has been known for a fire to smoulder and then ignite. I believe all RN vessels had all their cables replaced after the Falklands to reduce the smoke generated when they smoulder.
    Smoke is the big problem and its true to say that when you fight a fire in a compartment you can see absolutely nothing. You navigate by touch and are trained to fight the fire blind. Anyone who fights a fire in these conditions deserves every respect.
     
  5. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Kapton wiring. Burns quickly and fumes are toxic at <1ppm. That is why you have seen Kapton replaced in the aerospace sector over the last 20 years. I'm sure that is exactly what occured with the RN too.
     
  6. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    Amazing how such a modern machine can be so vulnerable. I'm sure they will learn from it.

    .
     
  7. ccheese

    ccheese Member In Perpetuity
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    I've been involved with small fires at sea, usually a paint locker, or some
    place where combustables are stored. The bad thing about a fire, at sea,
    is.... you have no place to run to.

    Charles
     
  8. buzzard

    buzzard Member

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    I think the flammability of Kapton was the cause of the Swissair crash that happened about 40 mi. from my place.

    Very glad to hear that the fire will only cost money...And hats off to the firefighters.
     
  9. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    The Swiss Air crash was not directly attributable to Kapton. Rather Kapton was one of many contributors to that tragic accident. The primary cause of that accident was deemed poor development and installation standards of In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) equipment. Quite an eye opener for aircraft manufacturers, operators and regulatory authorities.
     
  10. buzzard

    buzzard Member

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    Yeah, I know it didn't start the fire, but it certainly made it worse.

    My friend's 11 yr old daughter was on a school field trip about 3 months later, and they found a foot-long piece of human vertebrae on the beach...

    JL
     
  11. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    Being a ex naval fighter fighter and machiest mate I got to say a fire at sea is one of your worst night mares. The heat is unbearable even in the fire suits of today. Im just glad no one died from the fire.
     
  12. fly boy

    fly boy Member

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    oh my god as with the rest of you what the hell happend
     
  13. howie98277

    howie98277 New Member

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    Hey everyone,

    I was aboard the USS Washington when this fir took place. I never was in there fighting fires myself, as I was injured, and couldn't hold the hose properly. However, it did burn for hours, 14 at least. It started at about 8 am, and they were still calling re-flashes and other fires at 2200.

    I did see a lot of heroic people, and I'm proud of everyone on that shiop. We had to dramatically change our way of life for that last week out at see, and an already difficul life was made worse...
     
  14. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Glad you're ok Howie and hope the same for the rest.
     
  15. Grampa

    Grampa Member

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    Now today when there is now more advance electronic hardware build in those modern warship. they must have i guessing 10 or 20 times more cabels than those ship in Falklands war dont they? If so whouldent the problem whit smoke increase a lot? Dont forget the toxic in the smoke from the burned plastic. Has those designer-engineer of those warship made some sollution to this problem?
     
  16. trackend

    trackend Active Member

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    Anything burns when its hot enough, too many soft furnishings and to much alloy employed in construction was a big factor for the fires being so uncontrolable on the vessels during the Falklands. Heat induction is very hard to stop unless in its initial phase, even houses that are detach from the one on fire often spontaniously combust. and flues air ducts etc can cause the fire to pass several stores and start a fire well away from the original seat of the fire.
    I have attended a few minor fires in my work roll over the years (mostly cable ducts and equipment rooms).
    But in a confined space on board a vessel I can well imagine it must be a bloody nightmare to fight. I'm glad there were not fatalies on the Washington lets hope the intial cause can be found to stop it happening again.
    Glad you're ok Howie, regards to your shipmates.
     
  17. wilbur1

    wilbur1 Active Member

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    I just read that it burned 80 miles of cable, seems like a lot to me
     
  18. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Heh....you've never had to trace a wire through three compartements, Wilbur! Those ships probably have close to a thousand miles worth of cables. The problem with vessels like that is that, no matter how well you clean, there's always oily residue in the vent ducts, outboard areas, and between the false-bulkheads. The lagging on the ship's pipes and inner hull area, once ignited (takes a fairly high temp, but an oil fire in the bilge will do the trick), burns extremely hot, spreads extremely fast, and puts out more oily black smoke than a burning tire does. Quite literally, within a matter of seconds, your average living-room sized area will be down to zero visibility. The guys fighting the fires have to know exactly where all of the EAB (Emergency Air Breathing system) air manifold hookups are, or find someone else to hook into. Heat induction doesn't help, either, especially considering how a fire can spread into an inaccessable space and then on into a compartment nobody expected, as Trackend stated. Now, on top of that, add countless tons of paint, fuel, ammunition, cooking stuff, paper, and tons of other flammable materials....it doesn't take much to get a fire burning, and if its not contained immediately, it can get out of hand fast. Probably started with a loose wire or something causing an arc, or a loose cigarette butt (yeah...there're rules....but sailors kinda bend them at times. *looks innocent*). Any number of things could've caused it. My hat's off, though, to the guys who fought that beast and got it under control. It ain't easy.
     
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