Why we set fire watches....

Why we set fire watches....

Joined: August 25th, 2003, 11:23 am

January 5th, 2006, 12:49 pm #1

Even though it sounds like the Slater volunteers did just that, with 10 people in the work space, sometimes these things happen and get out of hand quickly. Extra vigilence has to be taken anytime any hot work is under way. Though it does sound like they did the right thing, when the blaze got out of hand they evacuated and let the professionals take over.


Fire damages USS Slater

Firefighters battled heavy smoke to put out blaze caused by blowtorch used in repairs

By BOB GARDINIER, Staff writer
Last updated: 2:56 p.m., Wednesday, January 4, 2006

RENSSELAER -- A group of retirees working in a honeycomb of compartments below deck on the USS Slater were lucky to escape a smoky blaze Wednesday.

A metal cutting torch sparked the fire about 11 a.m.

``You couldn't see anything and I just put my hat over my face like this and felt my way out of there,'' said Bob Callander removing his black knit cap to demonstrate.

One of the volunteers, a group of retired Navy veterans who keep the floating museum in ship shape, said he was lucky someone in front of him took his hand.

``I could not see a thing and was thinking I was not going to get out of there until someone reached me,'' said the man, who did not give his name. He and other volunteers watched as crews from Rensselaer and East Greenbush fought the fire.

About 10 volunteers were working just below deck in the bow of the World War II destroyer escort when the sparks lit a canvas tarp. They were working on the first level below deck in a small compartment called the chief's head -- the bathroom for commissioned officers -- the volunteers said.

Firefighters, unaccustomed to putting out blazes aboard a ship, used a rope tied to the lead firefighter inside to wend their way through the various compartments as thick gray smoke poured from open doors.

Fire officials also scrambled to obtain the destroyer escort's manual -- a large book complete with diagrams of the ship's complicated interior -- that they used to guide their way. The heat inside the ship was so intense, at one point snow and ice on the top deck steamed and gray paint on the exterior of the ship's hull blistered.

Once inside, the crews quickly got the blaze under control.

Workers said they were removing rusted metal from the bulkhead and hung the canvas tarp like a curtain to separate the work area from the rest of the ship. The workers used up all of the fire extinguishers at hand before realizing they needed help to put out the fire and called the Rensselaer Fire Department.

No one was injured.

The USS Slater, used as a tourist attraction, is docked from spring through October near the Port of Albany. Each winter, it is moved to the Rensselaer side of the Hudson River, where repairs and other restoration work is done during the off season.

It was not immediately clear how much damage was done by Wednesday's fire or how that would affect its scheduled opening in the spring.

The group of volunteers later got some amusement from the accident.

``Bad news, boys,'' Callander yelled to the group, many of whom served on escorts like the Slater during the war. ``All our pay records have been destroyed.''
Last edited by dave101tlhs on January 5th, 2006, 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: August 24th, 2003, 10:08 pm

January 5th, 2006, 5:08 pm #2

Hope the damage was not very great... and that repairs happen quickly.

Also hope our two Perrella's are safe and were not aboard...
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Joined: September 1st, 2005, 8:06 pm

January 5th, 2006, 5:37 pm #3

Just goes to show we have to be very carefull. I am proud of all our volunteers, for their safe work ethics and practices. They have also done a good job with our visitors that tour the ship. Keep it up! I also would not like to lose my pay records! Capt.
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Joined: June 7th, 2004, 3:45 pm

January 6th, 2006, 4:14 pm #4

I'm glad that everyone involved is okay.

Just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents here. The article states that the crew tried to fight the fire themselves. When they finally realized they couldn't win they called for the fire department.

Please don't wait to call for help. Delaying the call risks the ship and the crew. Undoubtedly, the crew's efforts helped mitigate the situation, but it sounds like they had enough people on board to fight the fire and send someone to call for help.

The article also mentions how unusual it is for us inland firefighters to fight a fire on board a ship. That's why we should encourage the firefighters and EMS personnel in all of our ports of call, including Evansville, to train on board the LST 325.
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Joined: May 20th, 2005, 1:46 am

January 6th, 2006, 8:36 pm #5

I agree, and the crew should learn some of it.
I'm a trained firefighter and ems worker. but don't know if I remember how to do it on a ship.
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Joined: August 24th, 2003, 10:08 pm

January 7th, 2006, 3:57 am #6

Heard from the Perrella's... they are fine...

Salutes to all of you for training to protect yourselves and the ship....


I can't help but remember our conversations about Damage Control and Fire Fighting Schools... and I also remember the practice and training you all did before each cruise. (And yes, every time I am on the tank deck I still look at those damage control timbers and smile...)
Last edited by SeaBat on January 7th, 2006, 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: January 17th, 2006, 3:42 am

January 17th, 2006, 4:14 am #7

I'm glad that everyone involved is okay.

Just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents here. The article states that the crew tried to fight the fire themselves. When they finally realized they couldn't win they called for the fire department.

Please don't wait to call for help. Delaying the call risks the ship and the crew. Undoubtedly, the crew's efforts helped mitigate the situation, but it sounds like they had enough people on board to fight the fire and send someone to call for help.

The article also mentions how unusual it is for us inland firefighters to fight a fire on board a ship. That's why we should encourage the firefighters and EMS personnel in all of our ports of call, including Evansville, to train on board the LST 325.
The Evansville fire fighters took a tour over a 2 or 3 day period right after the ship opened for tours. This was indeed a pleasure for them but most importantly it was a chance for them to see the equipment and the hose hook up's on board. It also gave them the general location of escape hatches and routes that would make it easier for them to locate should a fire or emergency exist. Larry
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Joined: September 1st, 2005, 8:06 pm

January 21st, 2006, 3:09 pm #8

I'm glad that everyone involved is okay.

Just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents here. The article states that the crew tried to fight the fire themselves. When they finally realized they couldn't win they called for the fire department.

Please don't wait to call for help. Delaying the call risks the ship and the crew. Undoubtedly, the crew's efforts helped mitigate the situation, but it sounds like they had enough people on board to fight the fire and send someone to call for help.

The article also mentions how unusual it is for us inland firefighters to fight a fire on board a ship. That's why we should encourage the firefighters and EMS personnel in all of our ports of call, including Evansville, to train on board the LST 325.
We have had all of the Evansville Fire dept. aboard so they could know the ship's layout. We did that on arrival. Evansville Fire Dept has a plan if we would have a fire anywhere on the ship Bob Jornlin
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Joined: August 24th, 2003, 10:08 pm

January 21st, 2006, 8:29 pm #9

and forward looking the 325 Board and volunteers are. You all don't just think of maintenance of the ship, sharing history and educating but also of protecting this wonderful asset.

Thank you!
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