A fire broke out Thursday morning in the funnel area of the Carnival Freedom cruise liner when it was docked at Grand Turk.
According to Matt Lupali, senior public relations manager at Carnival Cruise Line, aboard Carnival Freedom, based in the port of Canaveral, had about 2,500 passengers and a crew of about 1,100 people. There are no victims.
In a statement issued by Lupoli, Carnival said: “The Carnival Freedom Emergency Response Team quickly intensified and extinguished the fire in the ship’s funnel while the ship was in Grand Turku. All guests and crew are safe and the ship’s guests have been cleared by local authorities. We continue to assess the situation. “
On Monday, Carnival Freedom left the port of Canaveral for a five-day cruise.
Among the passengers on the ship were Jenny Fleming and her mother Carol Reich, both from Palm Bay. Fleming said they were among the first to report the fire.
“My mom and I were sitting on the balcony drinking coffee when we moored, and some weird people at the (Carnival) Mardi Gras next to us started yelling at us that there was a fire,” Fleming said. “Mom runs inside and calls 911, and we were apparently the first to report it.”
Fleming said they reported the fire at 7:30 p.m. Everyone was ordered to report to their collection points within 20-30 minutes while the Carnival crew assessed the situation. Passengers were able to get ashore at 8:40 p.m.
“The whole crew informed us perfectly and made sure we knew where we needed to go,” Fleming said. “Many passengers were upset, and at first there was chaos. But then, when everyone got to the collection point, order was restored.”
Katie Bushnell of Batan Rouge, Louisiana, was on Mardi Gras, another ship from Port Canaveral, which was standing near Carnival Freedom in Grand Turk, and witnessed the incident.
“We woke up around 7:30 a.m. and I hear people shouting in our room,” said Bushnell, who was on a cruise with a number of family members. “I go to our balcony and people say, ‘The ship is on fire!’ I look up and see black smoke coming from the ship, and I thought it was ours. ”
Soon “we realize that people were shouting from our ship to another ship. I’m starting to try to get a proper look at another ship, and of course we see their ship burning. It was raging and getting bigger and bigger. I was so scared because it was just beginning and the staff had just been warned. So we watched this and tried to warn others on their balcony on another ship. “
In a Facebook post describing the fire, Bushnell wrote: “Freedom firefighters have gained control and now everything is fine. Thank God. Watching this was insane and I was really scared for the Freedom passengers. The wind was blowing very hard and the fire he seemed to be getting bigger and bigger. I didn’t know how they were holding him back. But the staff is very well trained. “
A cruise ship funnel usually serves as a chimney to raise emissions above deck, thus away from passengers and crew.
Grand Turk is part of the Turks and Caicos Islands, located north of the island of Espanola, an island that includes the Dominican Republic and Haiti.