“At about 9 PM, we received calls for a large boat on fire, possibly multiple boats. It turned out to be a 38- to 40-foot commercial boat fully involved in fire when we arrived,” Deputy Fire Chief Timothy R. Smith said.
The boat, named My Brother, is owned by Harvey Russell. Mr. Russell runs fishing charters out of Oak Bluffs in the summer. The boat was docked in Falmouth Harbor for the winter.
“It’s very unfortunate. He had a very good charter business, taking people fishing. He will probably have to get a new boat for his business,” said James H. Tietje, manager of Woods Hole Boat Sales Inc. “He is a good person; you hate to see something like this happen to him.”
My Brother had been out on the water cod fishing earlier in the day. It docked near the Clam Shack of Falmouth, off the corner of Clinton and Scranton avenues, approximately 5 PM. It caught fire later that evening. Firefighters had the fire under control by 9:30 PM, but remained on the scene for a couple of hours.
“Boat fires are a little stubborn to put out, because of the materials, particularly the fiberglass,” Mr. Smith said. “We also have to be careful putting water into the boat, as too much will cause it to sink.”
The department was concerned about the potential for a diesel fuel leak. In addition to pumping the boat, they deployed oil booms around the marina as a precaution.
“We were able to keep the boat from sinking and didn’t have any diesel fuel leak,” Mr. Smith said.
He described the boat as a “total loss” following the fire. It was not the only boat damaged in the blaze. Mr. Tietje said a boat named No Claims ,owned by David Lawrence, was significantly damaged, with the heat causing its radar dome and window gaskets to melt.
“One boat was totaled, the other badly damaged. If there was more wind, it could have been so much worse,” Mr. Tietje said.
In addition to the boats, the dock caught on fire. Mr. Tietje described the dock damage as minor charring.
He plans on repairing the dock, which might involve replacing some sheathing and wiring.
Also responding at the scene were the Coast Guard, the Falmouth Harbormaster and TowBoatUS.
Once extinguished, both boats were towed to MacDougalls’ Cape Cod Marine Service.