Fire on board

Do you have your escape route planned should a fire onboard happen?

 

Terrible news today. This reminded me of an incident we had on board Mariah II.
Fire onboard, two bodies found.

On Mariah, we on the step (above the engine), to step in/out, we set a mosquito coil to burn through the night, so those pesky mozzies wouldn’t bother us. It was during the early years of cruising and we hadn’t reached the dizzy heights of organising mosquito nets for the main entrance yet.

We slept in the v-berth, which had a lovely big hatch over the top. So we could continue to sleep at night with fresh air if it rained, we made a tarp and tied it down low. The hatch was open but no rain could enter.

This was the problem.

We liked good shade covers on board - but the v-berth one could have caused problems
We liked good shade covers on board – but the v-berth one could have caused problems

Back to the mozzie coil. Our one functional sink was in the galley and that evening I washed and dried my face, hanging the towel over on the other side of the step.

During the night I got up for some water and spotted a big pile of black stuff on the step.

I prodded it and it all crumbled like ash. I looked up, out of the hatch, into the sky expecting, what? I am not sure, a little alien ship dropping fuel emissions?

I was completely mystified and a little spooked.

You can see the large hatch (timber) on the foredeck here. We tied a square tarp over this at night - to keep the rain out but breeze in. It was tied tight so not to flap in any breeze.
You can see the large hatch (timber) on the foredeck here. We tied a square tarp over this at night – to keep the rain out but breeze in. It was tied tight so not to flap in any breeze.

Noel got up and he moved the black stuff to find the timber step smoldering! Then we noticed the towel had gone.

We deduced that I had brushed the lit mozzie coil with the towel as I hung it back up. The towel had smoldered to a pile of ash.

We were so lucky, there was not a breath of wind that night to turn the smolder into a flame. Otherwise, I would have been writing a different story.

The next morning we talked about the ‘what ifs’.

We realised that if there had been a fire on that step, we couldn’t have escaped. Our big hatch over our v-berth was our only other escape. It was open but restricted by the tarp to keep the rain out.

Thereafter we kept a good knife by the hatch, inside, so we could easily cut the tarp ties away and escape that way should we need to.

We made a mozzie net cover for the main entrance.

A lucky escape for us.

Have you learned some good safety preparation/tips along the way?

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