Oak Bluffs firefighters suppressed a boat fire in the vicinity of the East Chop Beach Club Tuesday morning. Several fire trucks, police cruisers, and ambulances were on scene as a fire raged aboard a commercial Regulator fishing boat. The flames were under control within 10 minutes after emergency response teams arrived, according to Oak Bluffs Fire Chief John Rose.
Seasonal residents Sue McGinnis and Mary O’Daniels said they were traveling along East Chop Drive at around 10:30 am when they smelled smoke, and soon saw a boat engulfed in flames.
McGinnis said the owner of the boat was yelling as he tried to extinguish the flames with buckets of water and a hose from the dock.
“We called 911 and the operator told us to get him off the boat,” McGinnis said. “We started shouting at him to get off the boat.”
By the time the entire stern was almost fully involved, McGinnis said, the man got off the boat and waited for help.
“We were waiting to hear the explosion, because we thought maybe the engine would catch on fire,” McGinnis said.
Fire personnel used Class B firefighting foam to put out the fire and cover the smoldering fiberglass and plastic, which was exuding chemical smoke that could be seen in plumes from the main road.
Dock pilings near the boat were charred, and parts of the dock were scorched as well. Rose said the fire started at the stern of the boat as some fuel ignited. The flames moved up both gunwales toward the center of the boat, but the engine was never ignited.
“We are lucky no one was hurt,” Rose said. “Fiberglass fires are very dangerous and hard to put out.”