April 11, 2013 | Vol. 39, No. 15

NTSB: Ferry fire likely caused by welding crew

ANCHORAGE (AP) — The National Transportation Safety Board says a fire on an Alaska ferry in Ketchikan for repairs likely was caused by hot materials left behind by a work crew that broke for lunch.

The fire Feb. 7, 2012, caused damage estimated between $500,000 and $750,000 to the Malaspina (mal-ah-SPEE'-nah) at Alaska Ship and Drydock.

The Coast Guard investigated the fire.

The fire began just before noon in the sewage treatment room below a crew member stateroom where a work crew was repairing a ventilation duct.

Investigators determined that workers used a welding curtain designed to shield against sparks.

The curtain was not designed to capture molten material.

The curtain was placed horizontally and investigators determined that hot material burned through it, fell to the sewage treatment room and ignited other material.

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