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How did it not sink if it was as badly damaged as that?
It’s Asbury, not Ashbury. Still a cool piece of history, I never knew about this
Mashable has [a good write-up](https://mashable.com/2016/11/19/morro-castle-disaster/) (and some more photos) about this.
>Daniel Campbell, a steward for the *Morro Castle*, would later recall that one particular passenger approached him sometime around half past two in the morning and asked him if he smelled smoke. They were, at that time, standing in the ship’s smoking room. Be that as it may, Campbell had little else to do at that dreary hour, so he humored the passenger and began to stroll around Deck B, peeking into various rooms to see what he might find. (…) He poked his head into the writing room, which was vacant, but something caught the corner of his eye. A wisp of smoke curled from the edge of a concealed locker where supplies such as pens, paper, cleaning solution, and uniforms were stored. This had to be the source of the odor the passenger had reported. Campbell grabbed an extinguisher and toggled the locker latch. The door sprang open with a belch of bluish-white flames. He slammed the door shut again to deny it more oxygen, and pulled a fire switch which would discreetly alert the bridge. This ambitious-looking fire was bound to be a considerable distraction.
>A breathless crewman arrived at the bridge to corroborate the fire alarm, and Acting Captain Warms sent Acting First Officer Ivan Freeman to oversee the snuffing of the blaze. The state-of-the-art fire detection readout on the bridge showed nothing out of the ordinary, but Warms knew there were several rooms in that area of the ship lacking fire sensors. When Acting First Officer Freeman arrived at the writing room, numerous crewmen were hurling pails of water into the locker, and spritzing the occasional extinguisher. A clutch of passengers stood watching from a safe distance. The fire seemed indifferent to their every effort as it began to spill out of the closet and onto the walls and floor of the writing room. More crewmen arrived dragging a fire hose whose other end was connected to a high pressure hydrant, but no one present knew how to operate the equipment and it took some time to get it flowing.
>What none of the crew realized right away was that the fire was being fanned by one of *Morro Castle’s* oft-touted amenities: a rudimentary air conditioning system that used vents at the front of the vessel to draw in cool, refreshing sea air which was then funneled into inner passenger compartments via gaps behind the wall paneling. The *Morro Castle* was steaming at near-top-speed into a headwind, consequently the captive breeze was brisk. Furthermore, much of the luxury liner’s wood-paneled interior was glazed in layers of luxurious flammable varnish and fastened with comprehensively combustible adhesives. The fire feasted, spreading at an astonishing rate unlike any in the onlookers’ experience. Soon it was roaring, feeling its way upwards and sideways toward adjacent rooms with little regard for the crewmembers’ interventions.
>At 2:56am, about fifteen minutes after the fire had first been reported, a bulb on the fire detection display on the bridge began to blink. Acting Captain Warms had thought that a few dozen crewmen could handle a little cigarette fire, but he began to grow concerned. Seconds later another indicator on the board blinked on. Then another. Within mere moments an inconceivable swath of the tiny incandescent bulbs were blinking in mute urgency, indicating fire in multiple areas on two decks. (…) Acting Captain Warms, severely sleep-deprived and thrust into command under rapidly deteriorating circumstances, asked of no one in particular, “Is it real, or am I dreaming?”
That’s my go-to beach. Along the right edge of the photo you will notice a building. That is Convention Hall. There is a monument outside of the boardwalk entrance commemorating this disaster.