Originally Posted by paranoid marvin
I think the argument was twofold; if there hadn't been a fire then the ship wouldn't have been travelling so quickly (the only way to deal with the fire was to shovel coal in to the furnace as quickly as possible). At a lower speed the impact may not have been so great or there may have been none at all. Secondly the weakened bulkhead wouldn't have saved the ship, but it probably wouldn't have sunk before a rescue ship saved the passengers.
The fire had nothing to do with the speed the Titanic was traveling. The Titanic's average speed on her maiden voyage was 21.44 knots, almost the same as
her sister Olympic's maiden voyage. The fire was in one coal bunker - the Titanic had 22
, so faster shoveling from that single bunker would have had a minor effect on the Titanic's speed. Also, according to Leading Fireman Charles Hendrickson and Leading Fireman Fredrick Barrett, the coal bunker was emptied
and the fire was out sometime on Saturday. That's an a minimum 23 hours and 40 minutes before the Titanic struck the iceberg, so the long since extinguished coal fire had nothing to do with the speed the Titanic was going. If the bulkhead did collapse due to being weakened by the fire, it seems wildly unlikely that it hastened the Titanic's sinking by an hour and 40 minutes - water would still flow over the top of the bulkhead. At best, it would allow the last two collapsables to be launched instead of floating off the sinking deck, which might have saved a couple dozen more.