Fire on Titanic before it sank

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Zachary Lee

Member
Hello, everyone! In Charles Pellegrino's book, "Ghosts of Titanic" he says that there was a fire on the stern of the Titanic. He says the fire started when a fire place in the first class smoking room had coals spill out onto the floor starting the fire. Is this true because I don't recall reading about a fire on the stern of the Titanic before it sank?
 
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Robert T. Paige

Member
The only fire I recall reading about was the one in the coal bunker.
 
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Mark Robert Hopkins

Member
How could there have been a fire on the stern when the smoking room was a few hundred feet forward of it? Also, keep in mind a couple of considerations:

* The fireplace situated within the smoking room was against the back wall, away from the stern, so it would be virtually impossible for any coal from the smoking room fireplace to start a fire on, or in, the stern.

* When the ship sank, considering the smoking room was forward of the stern and went under first, anything pouring out of the smoking room (with the inclusion of fireplace contents), would have tumbled forward, not aft.

* At that precipitous angle the sinking ship would have had to be at that point, not to mention the flood of water filling the smoking room instantaneously after the smoking room ceiling topple off forward, there wouldn't have been enough time for a fire to start there.

* The fireplace in the first-class smoking room wasn't even lit the night of the sinking, so there were, nor could there have been, any burning coals to start a fire.

I must also warn about Pellegrino: Although his stories are colorful, imaginative, and enrapting, they are by no means completely accurate. Take them with a grain of salt, unless they have been confirmed elsewhere, such as in a primary source. Many writers fabricate details for the purpose of selling. It appears that many readers are, unfortunately, more desirous to read fiction than reality, even if the fiction, like this, is full of holes and impossible to occur in light of the facts and physical reality.

I hope this helps.

--Mark
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>Is this true because I don't recall reading about a fire on the stern of the Titanic before it sank<<

Mark took the words right out of my mouth on all counts, All I can really add to that would be if there had been a fire in that locaton, you would think a number of people would have taken notice and said something about it. Unless somebody can point to a first hand account of this, I'd have to say that there's a mighty loud silence out there on this one.
 
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Zachary Lee

Member
Thanks guys I had a feeling that this fire in the smoking room wasn't true. Also thanks Mark for warning me about Pellegrino and telling me why this fire never happened. Thanks again everyone for replying!
 
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Roy Kristiansen

Member
Pellegrino cited two eyewitnesses to the smoking room "fire" - Frederick Ray (USInq) and Thomas Ranger (BrEnq). I checked both their testimonies and couldn't find a single solitary word that backs him up. Did I miss something? Perhaps Pellegrino got touch with Ray and Ranger via his Ouija board?
 
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Zachary Lee

Member
I don't know how Pellegrino came up with the "fire" story. Perhaps he misunderstood something he read about the Titanic or he made the "fire" up.
 
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Mark Robert Hopkins

Member
Let's try imaginative conception due to the desire to get published, sell a million copies, and make some money. The latter tends to motivate writers more than documenting the truth, because truth rarely brings forth the latter. Give the people what they want!
 
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Roy Kristiansen

Member
What's so frustrating to me about Pellegrino is that in one sentence he'll hit you with the most amazing insight and in the next with the most unfathomable idiocy. Aarrgh!
 
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Erik Wood

Member
I would be leary of reading Pellegrino and taking it as the gospel. On several threads on this board the many (and I do mean many) historical, and other mistakes have been gone over.

Especially when it comes to technical matters I wouldn't be using Pellegrino.

Bravo to Mark for an outstanding post.
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
>>What's so frustrating to me about Pellegrino is that in one sentence he'll hit you with the most amazing insight and in the next with the most unfathomable idiocy. Aarrgh!<<

Indeed. He's an engaging story teller and very readable. Probably a very likable sort of chap in person, but if he presents something as fact, you really need to chec things out for yourself. Which in general, is a good idea anyway, regardless of who the author is. (Even the best of them make mistakes.)

>>Pellegrino cited two eyewitnesses to the smoking room "fire" - Frederick Ray (USInq) and Thomas Ranger (BrEnq). I checked both their testimonies and couldn't find a single solitary word that backs him up. Did I miss something?<<

I doubt it. I've never seen any such claim in sworn testimony or affidavit either. Still, anyone who wants to check for themselves can go HERE for Mr. Ray's testimony and HERE for Thomas Ranger's testimony. Nobody mentions a fire that I could see but Mr. Ranger does describe the breakup.
 
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Mark Robert Hopkins

Member
>>Bravo to Mark for an outstanding post.<<

Thank you, Erik. It's appreciated. It's nice to be recognized for doing something worth while.


>>but if he presents something as fact, you really need to check things out for yourself.<<

There's a saying that goes: Who's more the fool - the fool or the fool who follows him? It's important to do your own checking, especially if you know the initial source is questionable.


>> doubt it. I've never seen any such claim in sworn testimony or affidavit either.<<

It's interesting to consider why Pellegrino would make claims when such references do not even exist, unless he didn't think that anyone would bother to look them up, hehe. Any story sounds more authenticated when it's supported by "eyewitness accounts." ;)
 
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Roy Kristiansen

Member
>>It's interesting to consider why Pellegrino would make claims when such references do not even exist, unless he didn't think that anyone would bother to look them up

Well, Mark, if that's the case, then he sure doesn't know this crowd very well, does he??
'-)
 
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Zachary Lee

Member
I would of never guessed Pellegrino made this "fire" up. Good job, Mark on your excellent account of how the stern fire could of not happened. I wonder what Pellegrino would think if he knew that we know the truth of his "stern fire" story.
 
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Roy Kristiansen

Member
Mark, I've been rereading this thread and I think we might have crucified Pellegrino a little prematurely on this one. Not that we can't still decide to go ahead with the operation . . .

Zachary's posting, if my memory serves, summarized the implications of what Pellegrino wrote in a very short space. I think what CP was getting at was that, with the increasing tilt of the ship, coals from the smoking room fireplace rolled out and forward, setting the carpet on fire. Thus, had the stern actually floated after the breakup, the people still on board would have found themselves trapped by a growing inferno that ultimately would have engulfed the stern -- in a "damned if they did, and damned if they didn't" situation. To support this, Pellegrino made Frederick Ray a "witness" to the reddish glow from the "fire" in the smoking room and included Thomas Ranger by implication.

Now, which shall it be, me hearties? -- boiling oil, or melted lead?

'-)
 
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