A January 15th, 2018 fire aboard a boat ferrying people to and from an offshore casino in Florida left one dead and fourteen injured. The fire completely destroyed the small craft, causing difficulties for the Coast Guard as they attempt to investigate the cause of the conflagration. The cause of death for the 42-year-old mother of two is still pending as a full autopsy must be informed, but early indications are that smoke inhalation may have played a decisive factor.
Due to state laws regarding gambling, casino boats are kept far enough offshore to not fall under such guidelines. The companies that operate these craft must shuttle business from shore to ship and back again dozens of times a day to generate a profit. Running regular small boats is the key to their business. The company insists there had been no previous trouble with the particular boat that caught fire.
Many people are surprised to learn that a fire can utterly destroy a sea-going vessel, as water is readily available to fight any blaze. But fires on boats are surprisingly common and can cause significant damage even to large vessels. Fires on large cruise ships have resulted in significant injuries and even deaths over the years. With smaller vessels, there is often little time for the crew or passengers to respond because the fires move quickly and there is little room to run.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury or illness on a cruise ship or ferry, it is important a full investigation takes place regarding whether or not the company that operates the boat was aware of potential problems. Please, consult with an experienced attorney about your case. A skilled lawyer can guide you through the legal and investigative process to make sure all your questions are answered.