Due to local quarantine regulations, a substantial quantity of frozen provisions had to be transferred between two refrigerated chambers, so that one of them could be sealed by the authorities. This resulted in the overcrowding of one of the chambers, such that some cardboard packages were in tight contact with the electrical defrosting heating elements situated in close proximity to the evaporator or cooling coils. During the automatic defrost cycle, the temperature of the exposed section of the heaters was sufficient to cause smoldering and ignition of the cardboard packaging that was in physical contact.
Fortunately, the alert cook detected the fire promptly and the fire was quickly extinguished.
Corrective/preventative actions on maintenance ship fish room
1. Inspection and identification of heat / ignition sources inside provision rooms;
2. Posting of warning notices outside and inside provision rooms;
3. Modification of heater element arrangement to prevent any part from coming into contact with packaging; alternatively, the fitting of grilles or barriers around these elements