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FiremanDetails How Flames Broke Out In Coal Bunkers After Leaving Southamptonand Steamship Was Rushed Westward So That Blaze Might Be Extinguishedin New York Port.

Ship’s Coal Was Afire

The story told by J. Dilley was as follows:

“Iwas assigned to the Titanic from the Oceanic, where I had served as aFireman.  From the day we sailed the Titanic was on fire, and my soleduty, together with eleven other men, had been to fight that fire.  Wehad made no headway against it.”

“Ofcourse the passengers knew nothing of the fire. It started in bunkerNo. 6. There were hundreds of tons of coal stored there. The coal ontop of the bunker was wet, as all of the coal should have been, butdown at the bottom of the bunker the coal was dry.  The coal at thebottom of the bunker took fire, and smouldered for days.  The wet coalon top kept the flames from coming through, but down in the bottom ofthe bunker the flames were raging.”

Stokers Fight the Flames

“Two men from eachwatch of stokers was tolled off to fight that fire.  The stokers, youknow, work four hours at a time, so 12 of us was fighting the flamesfrom the day we put out of Southampton till we hit the iceberg.”

“No, sir, wedidn’t get that fire out. And among the stokers there was talk that wewould have to empty the coal bunkers after we put our passengers off inNew York and then call the fireboats there to help us put out the fire.”

“But we didn’t neesuch help. It was right under bunker No. 6 that the iceberg tore thebiggest hole in the Titanic, and the flood that came through theTitanic put out the fire that our tons and tons of water hadn’t beenable to get rid of.”

Told to Shut Mouths

“The stokers werebeginning to get alarmed over it, but the officers told us to keep ourmouths shut.  They didn’t want to alarm the passengers.”

Another fireman said that because of the fire the ship sank more rapidly than otherwise would have been the case.

“It had beennecessary to take the coal out of sections two and three on thestarboard side forward,” he said, “And when the water came rushing inafter the collision the bulkheads would not hold because they did nothave the supporting weight of the coal.”

“Somebody reported to Chief Engineer Bell that the forward bulkhead had given way and he replied: ‘My God, we are lost.’”

Hearing Adjourns to Capital

The Committee ended the taking of testimony in New York and adjourned to meet in Washington.

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Related Biographies:

Joseph Bell
Christopher Arthur Shulver


Marion James


Encyclopedia Titanica (2006) FATED SHIPS HOLD AFIRE (The Stevens Point Journal, Saturday 27th April 1912, ref: #4970, published 2 January 2006, generated 26th July 2021 08:40:42 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/hold-fire.html