Conception fire & sinking

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MPMalloy
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Conception fire & sinking

Post by MPMalloy » Mon Sep 02, 2019 6:47 pm


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raptor
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Re: Conception fire & sinking

Post by raptor » Mon Sep 02, 2019 7:27 pm

A fire at sea is just plain bad. This is really a horrible event and I am surprised the fire safety rules do not require multiple exits for sleeping quarters.
They are required in most commercial vessels in the GOM.

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Re: Conception fire & sinking

Post by Evan the Diplomat » Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:33 pm

I've been in a few fires at sea, one really big one on USS MIDWAY that wiped out our entire first responders.

Subsequent interview with divers who had recently sailed on the Concepcion affirmed that there were two exits from the sleeping deck to the main deck where the galley was located. To early to know what caused the fire and if both exits were blocked by fire.

That boat burned to the water line before she sank. The picture gave me chills.
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Re: Conception fire & sinking

Post by raptor » Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:33 pm

Evan the Diplomat wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:33 pm
Subsequent interview with divers who had recently sailed on the Concepcion affirmed that there were two exits from the sleeping deck to the main deck where the galley was located. To early to know what caused the fire and if both exits were blocked by fire.
Indeed there was a ceiling escape hatch (which is very common in sleeping quarters) on the vessel along with smoke alarms and emergency lighting.
At the bow end of the bunk room was a curving staircase that led up to the galley area. Toward the stern, an escape hatch was situated above one of the bunks and led to the salon deck, which included the galley.

"It's on a ceiling of the bunk room or the floor of the galley," said Bruce Rausch, 69, a veteran divemaster in Orange County and a retired San Onofre nuclear engineer who had been on more than a dozen dive trips aboard the Conception. "All you have to do is get up to a bunk and keep going up and you use the bunk as ladders."

It is not known if those in the bunk area were cut off from the exits by smoke or flames. Rausch and others who had been aboard the Conception told the Los Angeles Times that fire extinguishers were accessible to those in the bunk area, which also included smoke alarms designed to trigger emergency lighting when activated.

He and others said that before all dives, the boat's captain conducted extensive safety briefings covering the use of life jackets and lifeboats, the location of the escape hatch and methods of traversing the staircase.

Clevenger said he had never seen any hint of fire hazards or other safety issues. The escape hatch was easily accessible, he said, covered only by a piece of plywood.
This may be part of the explanation. Pure O2 is extremely dangerous and can cause normally benign things like motor oil to spontaneous combust. It can also turn a small fire into a massive blaze in seconds.
Although it's not known what caused the Conception fire, it is likely that pure oxygen was on board. An online agenda of the trip indicates that Nitrox - a blend of pure oxygen and air - was available for divers.

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Re: Conception fire & sinking

Post by Dabster » Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:15 pm

I'm not a fireman or anything but I've had the sad opportunity to see a few houses burn down. For me, the most notable thing was how quiet they were. I imagine a boat would probably burn like a house and if something damaged the smoke alarms, I can see people sleeping until they succumbed to smoke inhalation. Very scary stuff.
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Re: Conception fire & sinking

Post by raptor » Thu Sep 05, 2019 5:02 pm

Dabster wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 4:15 pm
I'm not a fireman or anything but I've had the sad opportunity to see a few houses burn down. For me, the most notable thing was how quiet they were. I imagine a boat would probably burn like a house and if something damaged the smoke alarms, I can see people sleeping until they succumbed to smoke inhalation. Very scary stuff.
The truly bad thing about a vessel fire is that the vessel is both air and water tight. Unlike a house the smoke really gets concentrated very quickly and is very dense and toxic due to the materials. You are in a closed box with the only air vents densely filled with smoke since the fire is going towards the air vents and door ways.

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Re: Conception fire & sinking

Post by JayceSlayn » Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:30 am

Not a final investigation result yet, but some more details: https://www.latimes.com/california/stor ... aused-fire. It sounds like their primary suspicions right now surround onboard electric grid overload or maybe a damaged/incorrect charger or battery.

It is worthwhile to remember that modern lithium-ion batteries can attain very significant power and energy densities, and could reasonably be treated as a tiny stick of dynamite (although not quite that level of power/energy density yet). They should be safe most of the time, but they have the potential of rapidly unleashing a lot of energy if mishandled. Additionally, most battery chargers are likely to top out around 25 watts (more, if for specialty batteries etc.); if you have a crew of people, each with multiple devices charging simultaneously, you can end up with significant load requirements.
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Re: Conception fire & sinking

Post by raptor » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:08 pm

Most properly wired vessels have circuit breakers and limit the power draw with these breakers at the outlet level as is done in homes.

The wild card with power on a boat is vibration from the engines and seas can loosen the wire connectors. That is why stranded (not solid wire) is required and soldered connections are the norm (wire nuts are not good).

A 15 amp (1,800 watt) wall socket can safely service a lot of chargers even the larger ones drawing 25 to 75 watts. Still if they daisy chain the power strips I could see the outlet drawing a lot of power to the point of overheating and causing an issue.


However these days it is easy to mismatch a charger and a battery or buy a cheaper charge that lacks the charge management system.
Lithium batteries have also been known to short and catch fire spontaneously. They have also been known to catch on fire if they are charged too quickly.

My bet is not a vessel wiring issue but rather a battery and charger related issue. (strictly opinion here not fact)
Beyond the wiring, there are other possibilities: an exploding or smoldering lithium-ion battery, a fraying connection cord or a mismatched charger, experts said.
There is a reason the FAA does allow spare lithium batteries in the cargo hold of passenger planes.
https://www.faa.gov/hazmat/resources/li ... _chart.pdf

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