Husband and Wife Believed to Have Perished on Their Houseboat
A 2-ALARM BLAZE AT A BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON, MARINA Friday morning has destroyed up to 20 boats along with a number of boathouses. Two people are still missing and feared dead when they were apparently trapped on their 42-ft. recreational trawler.
The fire began around 5:30 am at a boat dock that extended several hundred feet into the harbor with many of the boats carrying fuel that caused a series of explosions as the fire moved along the dock. The FD was hampered in their firefighting efforts by a lack of access to the fire, having to attempt reaching the blaze with handlines from other docks. The Bellingham Herald reports:
The boats were docked beneath individual metallic boathouses, each about a foot apart, (Assistant Fire Chief) Christensen said. Flames destroyed the entire line of shelters, with the boats inside, before firefighters could extinguish the blaze. Port officials weren’t sure exactly how many boats were housed there Friday morning.
Typical boathouse/dock construction at the
Bellingham Marina. (KING-TV)
The city decommissioned an old fire boat, Fire Belle, last year and didn’t replace it because of the cost. "We were unsuccessful in securing funds to replace it," Christensen said. "We could have used it today." Crews were only able to get to the fire from nearby docks. G Dock East is among the farthest from shore, about a quarter-mile out near a breakwater.
"When you fight fire, you want to be able to fight it from multiple sides," Christensen said. "(A fire boat) is the perfect tool."
Bellingham Fire Chief Bill Boyd was reluctant to get rid of the boat, but said at the time that it was necessary to do so to provide other basic fire and emergency-medical services. Keeping the boat cost the city about $30,000 a year.
Investigators are studying candid photos and videos in an attempt to determine the point of origin of the fire. The blaze was knocked down and largely extinguished in two hours, but several areas and pilings continued to smoulder throughout the day.
KING-TV posted this video report:
Read the entire article in the Bellingham Herald HERE.
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