The children and their parents survived, but they were among 13 people sent to the hospital after a fire that destroyed the boat and damaged the dock at 48 Jericho Road. The fire broke out as the harbor was busy with activity, and several dozen people lined the shore to watch firefighters put out the flames.
“I saw the smoke first,” said Charles Dattola, who works at the Scituate Harbor Yacht Club and was on shore about 500 feet from the gas dock when the fire broke out. “The whole area around the gas dock was black with smoke.”
Police Chief Michael Stewart said the family had been fueling their cabin cruiser at the gas dock at Scituate Harbor Marina at 4 p.m. when the fire sparked and spread quickly, igniting both the dock and the boat.
Stewart said the parents threw their three young children from the boat into the harbor before jumping into the water to escape the flames.
A family’s cabin cruiser burns in Scituate Harbor on Tuesday, June 5, 2019. The family on the boat had to jump into the frigid water to escape the fire. Thirteen people were taken to the hospital. (Ruth Thompson/Wicked Local)All five family members were taken to South Shore Hospital, where an adult man and an 11-year-old boy are being treated for third-degree burns to their feet, and all five are being treated for smoke inhalation. Two Scituate police officers were also taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation, and six other first responders and Good Samaritans were treated for minor conditions.
Kevin Callis, a landscaper from Quincy, said he was working on a lawn across the street when he saw the fire break out.
“I just saw the black smoke, then the flames started. I mean, it was roaring,” he said.
Callis ran to the docks and pulled the father and owner of the boat from the 55-degree waters. A nearby lobsterman pulled the children to safety, some with singed hair and visible burns, Callis said.
“I’m still pretty shaken up. I was just terrified for the kids,” he said.
Firefighters managed to put out the flames on the boat and dock by 4:25 p.m., pulling the flaming boat to a mooring and later to the boat ramp to prevent the fire from spreading.
Stewart said the dock sustained damage, but that the boat took the brunt of it.
“The damage to the boat was a total loss,” he said.
Several dozen people lined the shore later Tuesday afternoon, observing the fire’s aftermath. A thick odor of burnt wood and gasoline lingered in the air as white foam used to extinguish the flames blanketed the harbor, lapping at the charred stern of the burned cabin cruiser.
Dante Sacchitella, of Scituate, had been on the harbor with his dad when he saw the boat on fire. He said they heard a small explosion and the air smelled like burnt wood and rubber.
“We were just out to drop a couple lines,” he said. “We turned around and there were flames and smoke. The back of the boat was engulfed.”