THIS IS WHY you don't allow SMOKING IN ROOM!!!!!!!
MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica - A fire apparently started by a cigarette spread smoke through a cruise ship in the Caribbean early Thursday, killing an American, injuring 11 other people and damaging about 150 cabins, officials said.
The Star Princess was en route from Grand Cayman to Jamaica when the blaze started at about 3 a.m., according to a statement from Princess Cruises, which is owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp.
The American died after suffering cardiac arrest, Princess spokeswoman Julie Benson said without releasing the victim's name. Two passengers suffered "significant smoke inhalation injuries" and nine others had "minor complications," a company statement said.
Two people were hospitalized in Montego Bay and two others were being treated in the ship's clinic, Jamaica's disaster office said.
Horace Peterkin, president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, toured the scorched ship after it docked in Jamaica and said crew members told him the fire apparently started on a cabin balcony. A cigarette was suspected of causing the fire, which damaged about 150 cabins, Peterkin told The Associated Press.
He described the victim as an elderly American man.
The ship was carrying 2,690 passengers and 1,123 crew members. The Princess Cruises Web site said the Star Princess has more than 700 balcony staterooms and four pools.
Peterkin said 550 passengers whose cabins were damaged will be moved to two hotels in nearby Negril and Ocho Rios. The cruise ship company was arranging to fly other passengers home, he said.
The ship was not damaged seriously and will sail back to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Friday, Peterkin said. There was no immediate confirmation from cruise line officials.
Star Princess sailed from Fort Lauderdale on March 19.
"The ship is seaworthy," Peterkin said. "They'll sail out tomorrow."
The fire-blackened Star Princess docked in Montego Bay just before noon. No smoke was seen coming from the vessel as rescue personnel boarded. All passengers remained on the ship.
The starboard side of the ship, which faced dockside, showed no damage. But dozens of cabins on the other side appeared to be charred.
Some passengers milled on the decks, but they were too far away from reporters.
The U.S. Coast Guard dispatched investigators and fire engineers to help in the probe, Coast Guard Petty Officer James Judge said in Miami. Teams were expected to arrive Thursday afternoon.
"Our No. 1 concern right now is safety," Judge said.