Star Princess Fire, Princess Cruise Lines Cruise Ship Fire near Jamaica – On March 23, 2006 around 0300 hours, with 2,600 passengers and a crew of 1,150 were aboard, when fire broke out on Princess Cruises’ Star Princess, injuring dozens and killing one.
Star Princess had left Fort Lauderdale, Florida on March 19, and was en route from Grand Cayman to Jamaica when the blaze started, with about 150 cabins damaged before crew members extinguished the flames.
There was one reported death and numerous injuries. Richard Liffidge , 72, of Georgia, collapsed and died on deck. It differs from the cruise line story of his death. Two passengers suffered significant smoke inhalation injuries and nine other had minor complications. Two people were hospitalized in Montego Bay and two other were being treated in the ship’s clinic.
Klemens Fass of Toronto, Canada, said that after he and his wife were evacuated with other some passengers , there was someone lying in the hallway passed out. He was being attended to, but it was very, very scary.
The crew put out the fire, then did a cabin-by-cabin search to check for victims and make sure everyone else was safe.
550 passengers with cabins damaged were moved to two hotels in the nearby resort towns of Negril and Ocho Rios. The cruise ship company was arranging to fly other passengers home. 70 cabins had some fire damage, others had water damage from extinguishing the fire. The starboard side of the ship, which faced dockside, showed no damage.
The ship was not seriously damaged, was sea worthy and would sail back to Fort Lauderdale the next day. The Coast Guard said cabins from decks nine through 12 were affected.
The Star Princess docked in Montego Bay, Jamaica, at about 11:30 a.m. ET. No smoke was seen coming from the vessel as rescue personnel boarded. All passengers remained on the ship.
Investigators into the fire, have released their final report as to the cause of the fire. A cigarette butt has been blamed for the fire. Maritime safety authorities conclude that the fire spread quickly because of its location on a balcony where plastic partitions fed the flames.
Due to the location where the fire began, on a passenger balcony, it is highly likely a passenger is to blame for the fire. It is also highly likely that passenger knows they started the fire, yet nobody has come forward to take the blame.