Fire on Titanic before it sank


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Zachary Lee

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Apr 22, 2005
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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?
 
Jun 12, 2004
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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
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>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.
 

Zachary Lee

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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!
 
Feb 24, 2004
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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?
 

Zachary Lee

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Apr 22, 2005
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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.
 
Jun 12, 2004
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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!
 
Feb 24, 2004
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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!
 

Erik Wood

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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.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>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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>>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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>>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??
'-)
 

Zachary Lee

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Apr 22, 2005
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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.
 
Feb 24, 2004
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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?

'-)
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>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.<<

Well, since no fire was lit in the first place, that would be rather difficult. Even if it happened, the Smoking Room was so close to the point of the break up, I would think it would have been swamped befor anything had a chance to take hold if a fire was burning.

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

Arrrrrrrr...this be Cap'n Blood me hearties. I've always 'ad a soft spot fer keel hauling and walkin' the plank, then feedin' what's left to the sharks!!!!!!!! Arrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!
 
Jun 12, 2004
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>>Well, Mark, if that's the case, then he sure doesn't know this crowd very well, does he??<<

Or he doesn't care. Needless to say, the common public has only a minimal amount of knowledge regarding the Actual Titanic; most of what is carried on are the myths to which Michael continues to make claim. Pellegrino knows that those individuals who are familiar with the Inquiries would be able to denounce his claim regarding Ray's and Ranger's supposed testimonies, even if Ray did claim to witness a reddish glow emanating from around the area of the smoking room. That could have been anything, and, without more evidence, authorities on this particular case would know that.

The fact that he creates and extrapolates from bits and piece despite the fact that authorities know better says something.


>>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.<<

The thing is, Roy, there's a big difference between stating that something actually did happen (which, unless I misunderstood what Zachary initially say regarding CP, is how I interpreted CP's account in this matter), and what could have happened. To assume the stance that something actually did happen in light of a hypothetical situation is either misleading or sloppy in expression.

By the way, I wasn't the one who originally criticized Pellegrino; several before me, in other threads, had already done that. I was merely reapplying to this particular issue the points already made against him.


>>Well, since no fire was lit in the first place, that would be rather difficult. Even if it happened, the Smoking Room was so close to the point of the break up, I would think it would have been swamped before anything had a chance to take hold if a fire was burning.<<

Exactly! And that was one point I made in my first post above. The situation of the smoking room, the angle of the stern as it sank, the location of the break in correlation with the smoking room all play a part in determining the plausibility and possibility of such a fire having occurred in the smoking room, Ray's "red glow" not withstanding. Considering the interplay of all these, and other factors, the "fire" story just doesn't cut it for me!

The fact alone that the fireplace in the smoking room hadn't had a fire going that night proves CP's "fire" story to be false, regardless of anything else.

--Mark
 
Jun 12, 2004
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>>Arrrrrrrr...this be Cap'n Blood me hearties. I've always 'ad a soft spot fer keel hauling and walkin' the plank, then feedin' what's left to the sharks!!!!!!!! Arrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!<<

AHHHH! I HATE sharks!!!!! No plank fer me, matey, Arrrrrrrrr!!!!
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>AHHHH! I HATE sharks!!!!! No plank fer me, matey, Arrrrrrrrr!!!!<<

Will hanging from the yardarm suffice? (I have a taste for the classics anyway.)
evil.gif
 
S

Susan Leighton

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"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"

...that's the ticket. People DO NOT bother to look things up themselves. Just today, I received an email (for the 10th time) telling me 'please don't delete, that AOL is tracking it to give poor Rachel the operation her parents can't afford.' Then, I am scoffed at for pointing out that it is a scam. It took me 37 seconds to 'look it up'. I'll never understand how people can just blindly believe anything they read or hear, without, as you all have said, "bothering to look it up".
 
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