Cruise Ship Catches Fire in Puerto Rico

More than 500 passengers and crew were evacuated on Wednesday from a burning ship about a mile off Puerto Rico’s north coast.

The fire occurred aboard the Caribbean Fantasy, a combination cruise and ferry vessel, as the U.S. Coast Guard began bringing passengers into the San Juan harbor.

The Coast Guard said all passengers had been evacuated, though it was still rescuing 26 crew members.

The ship was arriving in San Juan when the fire broke out, according to a Coast Guard spokesman.

Reports indicate that a hose carrying fuel burst open and caught on fire in the control room.

The crew attempted to extinguish the fire for 2 hours.

The extent of injuries are not clear at this time.

Several dozen people were treated for dehydration, high blood pressure and respiratory problems from the smoke, said a fire department spokesman. One stretcher held a man hooked up to an IV who was cradling a bawling newborn baby clad only in a diaper.

The mostly Dominican passengers included dozens of school-age athletes headed to competitions in Puerto Rico, including a 22-member cycling team, a girls’ volleyball team and a boys’ baseball team.

Passengers found to be in good health were loaded onto city buses to be taken out of the area.

The ships run several times weekly between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

While it may seem like a fire would be easy to put out when you are surrounded by water, a fire is a one of the most serious risks onboard a cruise ship. Since cruise ships are enclosed with long hallways and similar small rooms, combine that with a high volume of people and that makes cruise ships one of the worst places for a fire emergency. Cruise ship fires can be particularly devastating, due to the fact that there are not many escape routes.

Cruise ships operate under what is known as maritime law, so when an injury or death occurs, most traditional personal injury  and wrongful death laws do not apply to them. Moreover, major cruise lines are protected by a large team of attorneys and insurance companies, who are staffed to protect the cruise lines.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a cruise ship fire, mishap or any other accident, our Florida Cruise Ship Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help. Call us today at 866-608-5529 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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