Wiring Cause of Ericsson Fire
The $500,000 fire which swept the liner Ericsson March 7 and forced her out of service was attributed to the electrical system, according to a report from United States Coast Guard headquarters.
The Coast Guard investigation failed to determine the exact cause of the fire, but the statement says “there was a good probability that tile fire was caused by a breakdown in the electrical system,” basing its opinion on testimony of crew members and the New York Fire Department and “in the light of past experience in fire on vessels of similar construction.” Possible incendiarism was discounted and no individuals were held responsible or negligent.
A void space over the ship’s forward dormitory containing conduits, hot air vents and electrical wiring was listed in the report as the fire’s probable source.
Built abroad, the 16,552-ton former Swedish liner (Kungsholm) was permitted to operate under a waiver of American safety standards issued by the Coast Guard so that she could help clear the backlog of passengers on both sides of the Atlantic. At Washington, the Coast Guard recommended in May that its power to grant such waivers be discontinued March 31, 1948. except for ships tor which a replacement is being built.