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Old 06-12-2013, 02:47 PM   #1
OFB's Avatar
City: Richmond bc
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Invader no1
Vessel Model: Kishi Boat works
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 622
From the nosy neighbor files.

May 8 2008 Thursday Morning.

Some were around the 9:00 Ė 9:30 AM time? Not sure so I am guessing.

My location at that time would be in my office above a building the fronts the River. The windows from there face the Marinas docks where Invader no 1 is moored. This gives me a birdís eye view so ta speak of this Marina.

The Admiral my partner noticed smoke in the marina. When I took a look I also noticed white smoke around the center on X dock. I also noted the lack of any automobiles at that time in the Marina Parking lot.

So it be time for me to take a walk down the docks for a look.

Out the door across the parking lot I headed. As soon as I cleared the security gate the smell was unmistakable. Electrical fire just came to mind.

As I walked down X dock the smoke was wafting around MV XXXXX. As I came up to the vessel, smoke was exiting via the ER air intake vents on the port and starboard aft sides. Bayliner 38 motor yacht, mid to late 1980.

Panic, ya Panic covers my reaction < grin>

I took a quick look down the Port side and stern deck. Nothing much to note with that quick look. Just a ton of white nasty smoke from the ER vents and it appeared to be getting hot.

I also took a quick look through the salon windows but the inside seemed filled with smoke. It looked hot and not in a fashionable way. Nope I didnít do the touchy feely thing. I never actually touched or boarded the vessel at this point.

Panic, more panic.

I began to scream FIRE FIRE FIRE over and over again while I was running around. Oh I bet the video would be a laugh to watch.

I released a few dock lines from the vessels beside MV XXXXX, just in case they needed to be removed for a fire break.

I pulled the cover on the dock pedestal for power. Shut the breakers down and unplugged the power cord. From there I headed down X dock to where my vessel, Invader no 1 is docked.

I Live-aboard in this marina at the end of X dock. Aboard MV Invader No 1.

From my vessel I called 911 to report the fire. I also did a broadcast on the VHF channel 66A. I knew the marina would be monitoring that channel.

I had stopped screaming Fire Fire Fire by now.

I exited Invader no 1 and there be this guy standing there ready to help. Donít know who he is were he came from but itís all good. I really donít remember if I went back down to MV XXXX at this point and then came back for the fire pump or not. I know the thought process took me a few directions. Do I take halon and an axe or dry chemical. Do I make a fire break or just keep the boat as cool as I can till the fire guys show up. I am going to blame it on that age thing < grin >. I uncover my fire pump and hand it off to this guy helping me. I ask him to get it down there but not to close. I then go and dig out the hoseís.

Then I broke my own rule. I forgot to put on my PFD. OOOOOPs

We hook up the pump, start it up and I just start to hose down the aft end of the boat. When I hit the salon windows with water it just steams up. Not good.

The Manager from the Marina shows up on there tug. He has there fire pump on the tug and also begins dumping water on the back of the vessel. We then moved a propane tank away from MV XXXX out on to D dock.

Lots of nasty smoke pouring out from the ER vents. So we just kept hosing down the boat and the air intake vents. This monster seemed to be breathing. The monster seemed to inhale, then after a few seconds exhale that nasty smoke.

Any way that be about it. You Richmond Fire guyís showed up, nice and calm, as usual.

No yelling fire fire fire and such.

I had a quick conversation with the first fire fighter ( Cap )while continuing to dump water on MV XXXX. I shared my guess that it be electrical. I explained where the ER space entrance is. Where the battery disconnects for the vessel are located. Not that they would be any good at this point. ( they where )I confirmed the vessel had been disconnected from the 120V shore power.

From there the fire rescue guys came on down. Suited up, fired up there portable pump. They opened the ER space door with water blasting and turned off the 12 V disconects.

Wa la done deal and real fast after you guys showed up. THANK YOU!

After I returned to the office I was then informed by Carrie about the helper guy. He had just showed up to look at a vessel for sale. He also called 911 while hearing the crazy guy on the docks screaming fire fire fire. The Admiral opened the security gate and blocked it open at that point. Mystery guy then came on down to help. I am trying to find out who he is.

To thank him

So thatís my story and I am sticking to it I think. It really just ends up being a blur. So there is a good chance it did not happen quite this way. Oh well.

My broadcast on 66A was heard by the Marina Manager. At first he thought I was kidding till he looked at the cam. Man he was fast to get his but over there . Yet he could not believe I was set up and pouring water over the boat with vessels on either side ready to habd off if need be.

Panic driven adrenalin rush
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Old 06-12-2013, 03:51 PM   #2
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Country: US
Vessel Name: Just a Tinch
Vessel Model: Gulfstar 44 MC
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 595
Its good that you are the nosy neighbor! You did good!!

We've seen first hand what happens when a boat catches fire in a marina...and on a covered dock....lots of damage....lots of boats lost......not a pretty sight at all.

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Old 06-12-2013, 04:16 PM   #3
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City: Port Townsend Washington
Country: USA
Vessel Name: " OTTER "
Vessel Model: Ocean Alexander Europa 40
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,420
Nosy neighbor.....

so did you ever hear what the cause of the fire was?

These thing happen really fast.. a few years back I was out in Port Townsend bay pulling crab pots in Volunteer.. we normally used our 13' Avon but that day I took the big boat.

A call went out on ch.16 about a boat fire in Port Townsend Bay, we spotted the vessel as a big puff of black smoke rose from the boat.. it was about a mile away.

That was the first time in 8 years of ownership that I ever fire walled the boat and left it there.. and in the time it took to go the mile I had my small fire hose and a big dry chem bottle the size of a scuba tank ready to go when we came along side the vessel.

The boat was a 40'ish old fish boat and the capt was scooping buckets of water from the bay and going into the cabin to dump it in the direction of the fire. He was fighting a loosing battle..

We slid the dry chem over the rail and he exhausted the bottle in a hurry to little avail. At the same time we used our fire hose to shoot through the windows of the house but all it did was cause a bunch of steam. Another boat joined in and we all convinced the skipper to GET OFF THE BOAT as the paint on the deck was starting to bubble. We could see he had already burnt his hands in the melee.

He bailed ( Finally ) and we stood off until the local fireboat arrived and really started pouring water on the boat.

All this happened in well less than 10 minutes and I was shocked at how fast the fire got out of control. I think the first minute is all you have in a engine room then it is time to close it up and think about where you are headed that doesn't involve swimming.

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Old 06-12-2013, 05:21 PM   #4
OFB's Avatar
City: Richmond bc
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Invader no1
Vessel Model: Kishi Boat works
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 622
Bilge pump short.


The guess was a short on a bilge pump in the aft end of the vessel. The short being prior to the fuse. That then had the insulation on the curcuit go POOF! After that insulation went poof the other electrical items in the "bundle" had the same event and well all bets off as to what gets hot , shorted, etc etc.

It then becomes driven by a large 12 V house bank and well 50 amps of shore power. Disconecting the actual shore power cord really makes a difference . Cause the power turns the inside of the boat into one really big stove. I always find the life of electrical items interesting to watch through a fire. Lights come on and off, even the horn started with a wierd note or two , the windlass makes noise etc etc. The sound of a boat in real pain.

I was on a 34' express cruiser way back when. Cruisin along with the owner up on the Fly Bridge ( aka dodger ). When all of a sudden a log jumped out in front of us. The boat jumps over the log , both gas power plants go into high RPM till she gets shut down. Then there be steam coming from the cabin cause the power is located under the cabin sole. Off the bridge I go to check out how much water we be pulling. Get into the cabin pull the floor hatch and F&( that smell. Poof thats not steam its oil smoke and thats not water that's FLAME! I drop the floor , grab a dry chem as the cabin fills with toxic smoke. Open the floor hatch , dump the contents of the dry chem. Flames go away for a second and then POOF up they start again. I grab my jacket and cover the flame's. Fire goes out. The "other" couple of extinquishers are not available so too speak. Placed on the other side of the event. I had one shot. Then it be GET OFF THE BOAT.

So yup stuff happens fast. Turns out both shafts stayed in but a trans was fractured. The trans fluid sprayed over the engine compartment and onto the hot section of a head / exhaust manifold. Resulting in a fire as soon as I gave it nice clean air.

Any way the bayliner had an auto halon that I clearly remember going off. Oh that smell, however they do not remove heat like water. So that system was a non event.

Interesting stuff FROM A DISTANCE .

But that all being said being there for a guy on the water with a fire on board is just one of them moments. You allowed him to step to saftey not have to climb up outa water or ? Dam nice of you ! hope your around when I need

Yet there is a personal risk we assume when doing such that lots simply can not afford.
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:36 PM   #5
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City: California Delta and SF Bay
Country: Sacramento, CA, USA (boat in Vallejo)
Vessel Name: FlyWright
Vessel Model: Marshall Californian 34 LRC
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 8,457
Nice job, OFB. No doubt you saved his boat, marina damage and likely many others boats with your quick thinking and actions. Hope you're kickin' back with a drink of your choice. You done good!

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Old 06-12-2013, 07:43 PM   #6
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City: Tri Cities, WA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Beachcomber
Vessel Model: Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,150
It's nice to see and read about people who are willing to take action when they see a situation where action is needed.

Good on ya for not just standing by watching.

Mike and Tina
Beachcomber 1995 Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge
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