I can't help but wonder what exactly burned on these balconies. I've not seen a balcony on this ship, but have on others. OK, there could be deck furniture that might burn. There might also be teak or some other kind of wood flooring that might burn. However, after seeing the photos with indications that the balconies melted, I can't imagine teak flooring or wood/cloth furniture generating that kind of heat.
And while it's certainly conceivable that a lit cigaret could have caused a fire, I'm going to wait until we get some official answers to this before I believe it.
Don't the SOLAS regulations dictate that room furnishings (i.e., bedspreads, furniture, etc) be somewhat fireproof? Isn't there a sprinkler in every room?
Yes, there is definitely something very wrong with the fact that the balconies are completely gone in the area of the fire.
>> SOLAS regulations requiring use of non-flammable materials for internal construction are VERY strict. This should include the plastic, or glass, or whatever other material used as facades and partitions on the balconies, the insulation in the walls and overheads, deck coverings, and the materials used for false (finish) bulkheads and overheads.
>> There's no conceivable reason for pipes carrying flammable liquids, which mght have ruptured and spilled liquid that fueled the fire, to be in the vicinity of passenger cabins.
>> Even if there was some stray trash, towels, etc., on the balcony, it should not have been anything sufficient to create a fire of that magnitude.
>> It's also incredible that the ship's response to the fire took so long that it spread to about fifty cabins on each of three decks. Either the alarm malfunctioned or the ship's fire parties took a LOT longer to get to the scene than they should have taken.
In any case, the decks of the balconies should have acted as fire blocks.
I agree with the consensus to wait for the official investigation rather than trying to jump to conclusiions, but I will say that the results of the official investigation probably will not be pretty. We also do not know how the victim's heart attack relates to the fire. It's entirely possible that either may have caused, or at least contributed to, the other or that two independent events happened to conincide.
That said, there's no doubt that the collapse, melt-down, or whatever, of the balconies calls into question the safety of the rest of the ship's balconies in particular and the ship's construction and furninshings more generally. The U. S. Coast Guard probably will not allow this ship to sail from the United States with passengers until those quesitns are answered and the problems identified in the answers are corrected. The ship probably will be out of service for several weeks or even months, but I don't expect an announement unitl the investigators figure out the extent of the problem and the required repairs.
JTOL, there are also a very real possibilities (1) that the problem might be beyond economical repair if the use of inappropriate materials in construction is too extensive or (2) that the problems identified as a result of the fire may also exist on sister ships (MV Grand Princess and MV Golden Princess) and perhaps even on other vessels built by the same shipyard, even for other cruise lines. We'll get a better grasp on the ramifications of this incident when we see the results of the investigation.