This article originally appeared on Travel + Leisure.
According to a journalist who spent over 30 years researching the ship, a fire raged in the ship’s hull for almost three weeks that weakened the ship’s structure before it collided with an iceberg, killing more than 1,500 passengers.
Titanic researchers have acknowledged the theory before but due to new photographs, many are blaming the fire as the main cause of the ship’s sinking.
Journalist Senan Molony presented his confirmation of the fire in a documentary, Titanic: The New Evidence, aired in the UK on Sunday.
After studying photographs taken by the ship’s electrical engineers, Molony was able to identify 30-foot-long black marks along the hull. The marks were located directly behind the spot where the iceberg pierced the ship’s lining.
The fire was likely caused by a fuel store behind one of the ship’s boiler rooms. Crew attempted to put the fire out, but were unsuccessful.
RELATED: Best Places to Travel in January
“We are looking at the exact area where the iceberg stuck, and we appear to have a weakness or damage to the hull in that specific place, before she even left Belfast,” Molony told the Independent. Molony said that the fire’s high temperature could have weakened the ship’s steel by 75 percent.
Now historians are calling the sinking of The Titanic a product of criminal negligence.
It’s been rumored before that The Titanic was travelling exceptionally quickly because crew onboard knew of the fire raging down below. They considered it a “time bomb” and attempted to reach New York before the ship exploded, under orders from the ship’s owner, John Pierpont Morgan.
A 1912 investigation into the incident suggested that because of the ship’s high speed, crew did not have enough time to avoid the impending iceberg.