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Situations in Which Cigarette was Considered the Source of Ignition

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A fire broke out in the Star Princess belonging to the Princess Cruises in 2006 when it was bound to set off for Jamaica. The incident brought serious repercussions and nearly 100 cabins were ruined in 4 decks. (Mayntz, Sandymae, and Sundblad, 2010). The fire caused the death of one of the passengers by a heart attack. Many others received serious lacerations and respiratory disorders. When investigated, it was revealed that the fire was produced by a cigarette that was left unattended in the cabin of one of the passengers. A couple of months ago, a house in Northfield caught fire as the smoker threw the cigarette bud out of the window.

The bud landed over wood mulch and immediately the house was set on fire causing damage worth $ 5000 to $10,000. (Henke, 2010). It would never have caught fire had the smoker put the cigarette off before throwing it out of the window over the wood mulch spread in the house’ s foundations. To investigate the tendency of a burning cigarette to cause fire, one burning cigarette was left unattended on a sofa in an experiment and the time of initial contact was recorded with the help of a clock placed in front of the sofa as indicated in the figure below: The figure on the left indicates the time of commencement of the experiment when the burning cigarette was placed on the sofa.

The time as indicated by the clock in front of the sofa is approximately 12 o'clock. The room did not catch any fire even after 3 hours and 15 minutes had passed since the start of the experiment, though the top of the sofa got smoldered away.

The top was burnt and fumes were produced, but no fire popped out within the noted time. 3 hours and 15 minutes is a considerably long period of time for a fire to break out and it still did not. That proves that a cigarette takes too long to set a piece of furniture on fire to be accused of the source of fire in any situation. This challenges the validity of the claim that cigarette was the cause of fire in the case of Star Princess.

Fire investigations often come to an end once a cigarette is noticed in the locality of the accident, which is not right. Many cigarette banning campaigns have been initiated in the past with a view to ban or at least alter the composition of cigarettes so as to reduce their ability to cause the ignition. However, any thought of altering the chemical composition of the constituents of a cigarette to make it less prone to cause a fire is vain because it involves measures to reduce its sustainability to remain lit which is something.

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