Governor fire bottles up Vineyard Haven terminal

The Tisbury fire department responded to a fire on the freight vessel Governor in Vineyard Haven on Friday. —Stacey Rupolo

Tisbury firefighters responded to a belowdecks fire on the MV Governor at the Steamship Authority’s Vineyard Haven terminal this morning at approximately 10:30. By noon the Tisbury Fire Department had extinguished the fire, vented dangerous gases, and returned control of the Governor to the Steamship Authority.

“One of the ship’s generators caught on fire,” Tisbury Fire Chief John Schilling said. “The crew attempted to extinguish it with fire extinguishers. They ran out of extinguishers before they were fully able to suppress the fire. Our crew went down, completed the suppression with extinguishers, and then we vented the engine-room compartment of all the toxic gases and made sure that the levels of carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide are within acceptable limits. They’re communicating with the Coast Guard right now.”

Witnesses aboard the ferry reported seeing Steamship Authority personnel spraying hoses and extinguishers, but didn’t see fire or smoke. The fire left the Governor out of commission. Some of the waiting vehicles were diverted to the Island Home, which docked without incident while the fire was fought. Chief Schilling said the smoke wasn’t visible because it stayed trapped in the engine room. He did not give a cause for the fire.

Tisbury EMS, Tisbury Police, and Massachusetts State Police also responded to the call.

Steamship Authority personnel onsite declined to comment about the incident.