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grapes
2012-Jun-07, 10:10 AM
http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/06/06/vacuum-cleaner-blamed-for-fire-on-nuclear-submarine/

$400 million in damages? Did someone lose a decimal point?

LookingSkyward
2012-Jun-07, 10:24 AM
Once the interior insulation catches, kiss off all the major equiptment, electronics and cabling. With the crew mostly on a barge, not on board as the ship was in drydock, the detection & response to fire is pretty slow. The sub relies on the folks on board to find and respond to fires, and if the don't find it in a couple minutes the insulation (picture the inside of a tube with lagging all the way around) goes quickly. Once the lagging catches, it's the equivalent of a structure being 'fully involved', and becomes a mojor disaster. On the submarine blog where I hang out (The Stupid Shall Be Punished, beware of bad language), there is/was a lot of speculation whether it would even be worth the time and money to fix Miami.

Just really, really glad that no one was seriously hurt.

Also note, in dry dock the sub's own internal firefighting capabilites are reduced to fire extinguishers, no hoses except what can be run down off the peir. At sea, if this had happened, the fire would have been detected and likely extinguished within a couple minutes by the crew.

Basically, without having any insight other than the news, we're looking at ALL new electronics, cabling, insulation, etc in the fronty bit of the boat, where the big computers live. Re-cabling and new insulation may actually be more expensive than the new electronics bits.

Extravoice
2012-Jun-07, 12:27 PM
I know that the Navy takes monitoring for fires pretty seriously, even when a ship is under repair. My brother, who spent several years in the Navy, complained bitterly about pulling "fire watch" while repairs were being done to his ship in port. IIRC, he had to man a fire extinguisher and stare at a wall while repairs were being done in an adjoining compartment.

This situation sounds different, though. Work had apparently been completed for the day, the vacuum cleaner was stored, and the area was unpopulated.

Really bad luck, but at least there were no serious injuries. However, it may be time to find a different vacuum cleaner vendor.

LookingSkyward
2012-Jun-07, 01:00 PM
Yep - fire watches get to sit there for a half hour after all hotwork is complete, and check for hotspots before securing.

I suspect that something hot got vacuumed up and eventually set the dust can on fire, rather than the vacuum cleaner itself catching fire - in my day (84-90) Shop-Vacs were common, and there was no way to store them plugged in. I'll wait for official word, though, as I'm just guessing.

mike alexander
2012-Jun-07, 02:24 PM
The thread title was a bit misleading. Although the subdiscipline of 'vacuum fires' could be an interesting one in deep space.

grapes
2012-Jun-07, 03:53 PM
At least it was better than the CNN article title: "Vacuum causes $400 million damages to nuclear sub"

No mention of fire, we're just left with an impression of implosion :)

Trebuchet
2012-Jun-07, 07:43 PM
Hmm, compared to what's commonly outside them, the atmosphere inside a sub pretty much IS a vacuum.

Ara Pacis
2012-Jun-08, 04:04 AM
Hmm, compared to what's commonly outside them, the atmosphere inside a sub pretty much IS a vacuum.from what I've heard, with all those sailors and machines, they say the air is so thick you can cut it with a knife.

JustAFriend
2012-Jun-08, 04:49 AM
A nuke sub is not a Motel6.

There isn't ANYTHING cheap on a nuclear submarine....

LookingSkyward
2012-Jun-08, 08:26 AM
Heh - I got out in 1990, and still have some books that went under with me that smell like sub :)

geonuc
2012-Jun-08, 08:32 AM
I'm going to agree with LookingSkyward - this doesn't happen at sea. Submariners are borderline paranoid about fire. Parked at a pier, it probably doesn't happen either. But in drydock with the crew berthed off the boat, there's quite a bit less vigilance. Yeah, I'm wondering if the navy will just scrap Miami. It's a relatively old boat now.

captain swoop
2012-Jun-11, 07:46 PM
In the RN we were trained to be firefighters as much as sailors.

If the ship was in Drydock having a refit then it woujldn't have the crew aboard. It would have been Dockyard Mateys.

Ships I served on had heat and smoke detectors in unmanned compartments and machinery spaces. As above, if any work was being done then a firewatch had to be set on the opposite side of any bulkheads. If there is a fire in a compartment then external bulkheads and the deck above and the deckhead in any space below would be sprayed.

peteshimmon
2012-Jun-11, 09:04 PM
I remember being on HMS Blake in 1969 in the
radio room. A sailor was tuning, commisioning
the last of several racks of gear. The next day
I was at college and in the evening the news was
of a fire on the ship. When I arrived on board
next morning the racks of gleaming Plessey sets
were all black. And ruined. 100,000 gone west,
over a million in todays values.

The story was a chap was welding in the next
compartment and he told his watchman to...er..
go away. Heat through the bulkhead set fire to
something.

New sets were obtained and contractors cleaned
the walls. But the paint was discoloured, not
the green I so liked on the Monday.

And it was not my fault:)

grapes
2012-Jun-11, 09:23 PM
Just imagine the rigamarole that will be involved from now on, every time you touch a hoover. :)

geonuc
2012-Jun-11, 09:47 PM
In the RN we were trained to be firefighters as much as sailors.

If the ship was in Drydock having a refit then it woujldn't have the crew aboard. It would have been Dockyard Mateys.

Ships I served on had heat and smoke detectors in unmanned compartments and machinery spaces. As above, if any work was being done then a firewatch had to be set on the opposite side of any bulkheads. If there is a fire in a compartment then external bulkheads and the deck above and the deckhead in any space below would be sprayed.

I agree completely, except that it wasn't necessarily the case that ship's crew was not aboard, depending on the nature of the refit. The sub I was on drydocked three times and each time we performed the majority of the refit work. But that was in Guam where the drydocking was mainly an exercise to sandblast and repaint the hull to get rid of the barnacles. I'm not sure why Miami was drydocked.

danscope
2012-Jun-13, 01:32 AM
That's some big drydock on Guam. Been there. Rebuilt the Pogy. Back in the day.

Dan

geonuc
2012-Jun-13, 08:55 AM
The USS Sam Houston, drydocked in Guam, c. 1978.

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2394/2860884560_f05a8f3c3c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/49925617@N00/2860884560/)
609 in drydock (http://www.flickr.com/photos/49925617@N00/2860884560/) by geonuc (http://www.flickr.com/people/49925617@N00/), on Flickr

BigDon
2012-Jun-13, 09:34 PM
I've been in ugly fires at sea. Not USS Forestall class, but it doesn't have to be to be totally messed up.

Worst was when those "bleeping" high pressure steam lines fail into the interior of the ship. Kiss everybody in the compartment with the rupture goodbye as live 900 degree steam under 1200 psi displaces the atmosphere of even large spaces near instantly. And since the steam cools less than 25% due to the expansion, those folks don't stand a chance. And then all the "rooms" that are ajoining that space catch fire in the conventional sense as the steel hull transfers the heat.

Fires at sea are pretty messed up affairs, I tell you true.

LookingSkyward
2012-Jun-14, 08:28 AM
Was in a fire on a submarine -we thought. Fortunately, it was a lube oil kerpolsion. Still a lot of fun. No one got hurt, and I assume the current crew is still cleaning the oil out of the cracks - a decade later.

captain swoop
2012-Jun-14, 03:29 PM
We had a fire in a machinery space on one of the Leanders, it left us with no engines for nearly four hours. Not a major fire but in the Atlantic swell it got hairy until we got a tow onto another ship to keep our head into the swell.

Luckily I only got to fight big compartment fires at the Firefighting school at Raleigh. In the South Atlantic we were on standby to go aboard Sheffield to help with the fires but she was abandoned before we were needed. I can't say I am sorry.

BigDon.

Superheated steam is nasty stuff. Invisible as well. |When you are moving round the Boiler Room or Engine Room and you suspect a leak you wave a big Wrench or hammer in front of you. If it finds the leak the Wrench will be blown across the compartment and not your hand.

Trebuchet
2012-Jul-23, 08:02 PM
Bump! The vacuum is innocent. The fire was apparently started by an employee who wanted to go home early because of problems with his girlfriend. Linky (http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/07/23/157236613/employee-admits-to-setting-navy-sub-fire-to-get-out-of-work-early?ft=1&f=1001)

ravens_cry
2012-Jul-23, 08:15 PM
Hell hath no Fury, and now so does the US Navy!

geonuc
2012-Jul-24, 08:44 AM
Well, that will add a few dollars to the cost of the fire: the inevitable increase in security and shipyard-worker screening in the future.

LookingSkyward
2012-Jul-24, 09:00 AM
I don't even want to think about what security in the yard is going to look like now... I was much happier thinking this was a stupid accident.

grapes
2012-Jul-24, 04:08 PM
Four ... hundred ... million ... dollars. Have heads rolled?

Van Rijn
2012-Jul-24, 06:17 PM
Wow. What a name. Apparently they caught him after he set a second fire, and they did more investigation. Here's a detailed article on the issue:

http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20120723-NEWS-120729932

danscope
2012-Jul-24, 07:17 PM
I don't think he will see his girlfriend much.
At least they know who, how and why......now.