The Marine Firefighting Institute

Photos of the Month

Explosions and Fire Destroy Marina

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Marina destroyed by fire!

Colonial Beach, Va. - May 1, 2002 - At about 3 PM an explosion rocked a boat which was undergoing repairs.

The covered slips and the high winds quickly allowed the intense fire to spread throughout the pier which measured over 500 feet in length.

The covered slips, which are believed to be among the largest under a single roof in the Chesapeake Bay contained the heat and added fuel to this fire which raced through the marina.

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Colonial Beach Mayor, Pete Bone, stated that he could trace the progress of the fire by each explosion, which marked the destruction of still another boat. The owner of the marina, Kyle Schick reportedly attempted to extinguish the fire with portable extinguishers initially, but was driven back by the intense heat. A boat owner in the marina had described the covered slip structure as acting like a wind tunnel to engulf most of the pier before the arrival of the Fire Department.

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Smoke from the fire could be seen from twenty miles away. Fire Chief Tracy L. Hall stated that when the Colonial Beach Fire Department arrived in approximately five to six minutes, the pier had been almost completely consumed.

He estimated that over sixty boats were lost.

Initial estimates on damage were set at five million dollars but may go higher. Remarkably, due to the quick action of the Firefighters, more than thirty five boats were saved by moving them away from the fire.

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Additional help was called in immediately. Mutual aid crews responded from as far away as Maryland. Five fireboats from Maryland and another from King George County, Virginia, were also rushed to the bay.

Firefighters initially went out on civilian boats and cut the lines of about 30 boats docked near the 500-foot-long covered slip to stop them from catching fire.

Although the Coast Guard doesn't take an active role in firefighting they did supply foam from two of their vessels to Firefighters on the scene.

The Coast guard will not fight marine fires. It will be up to Municipal Fire Departments.

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Is your Department ready to handle a large scale Marina Fire? Do your Firefighters know how to safely operate at a marina or small boat fire?

Contact The Marine Firefighting Institute today to set up your date for our three hour mini-seminar about "Small Boat and Marina Fires"

Thanks to the Colonial Beach Fire Department for submitting these photos and for a job well done is saving over 30 boats.

To have your Department featured here, contact us via email for directions on how to send us your marine fire photo files.

The Marine Firefighting Institute