Just after 11 a.m., Sandusky Fire Department received a call of boats on fire at Son Rise Marina, in the 1500 block of First Street.
“When we got (to the scene), there was a huge amount of black smoke,” Sandusky Fire Capt. Adam Butler said.
Butler said two boats, a 36-foot-long Carver and a 34-foot-long Formula, were both fully engulfed.
Firefighters immediately took a water line out to the blaze and started to knock down the flames. Butler said the initial 10-minute attack on the fire ensured no other vessels caught fire.
The fire was declared under control at noon.
In addition to personnel from all three Sandusky stations, Huron Fire Department also battled the blaze. Huron firefighters fought the flames from their fire boat.
Brad Lehman, from North Canton, said he, two others and his dog were at the end of the pier when the blaze erupted. He said the flames cut him off from land. All three people and the dog got into a boat and used it to access another pier to escape.
“Sandusky firefighters made a good effort, a good stop. They worked pretty hard. They went non-stop for that hour, making sure there wasn’t more property loss,” Butler said.
“We were happy to have Huron helping out,” he said.
Boat fires are hard to extinguish because it is hard for firefighters to get a good angle to attack them, according to Butler.
A cause for the blaze has not been determined, though Butler said it started on the Carver before spreading to the Formula.
As a result of the fire, the Formula boat sank at its berth. The vessel was refloated and removed from the water by a tow boat, according to Butler. The Carver was also removed from the water.
Once on land, the Carver reignited and had to be extinguished again. “It goes to show how difficult it is to put a boat fire out,” Butler said.
Both boats were a total loss. At least six other vessels suffered heat and/or smoke damage, according to Butler.
No injuries were reported. Butler stated that people were on the Carver when the fire started but they were able to quickly escape.
In addition to firefighters, personnel from Erie County Emergency Management Agency, the Coast Guard, and Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources arrived to assess the scene.
A sheen from leaking fuel could be seen on the water. Butler said the amount was small enough that the Sandusky Fire Department did not need to take action.