With the Coast Guard and Marine Patrol still en route, members of St. George and South Thomaston’s fire departments grabbed portable pumps and hoses and leaped aboard a rescue boat as they raced to get to the flames before those flames came into contact with land or other structures.
Around 7 a.m., Monday, Nov. 16, as power lines were being restored throughout the area from an overnight wind storm, a couple of men in St. George headed to their boat at 257 Island Ave, on Rackliff Island. According to St. George Fire Chief Michael Smith, the boat appeared beat up, having been tossed against the dock during the storm.
The men went to start it up in order to pump it out. In turning it on, the engine caught fire. The men may have attacked the flames once with a fire extinguisher and then called for backup, according to Smith.
Before crews arrived, the fire burned away the boat’s connection to its dockage. Still aflame, the boat went adrift across the bay, prompting a mutual aid response by South Thomaston.
As the Tradition chased the vessel, other firefighters maintained watch from multiple locations along the shoreline. One fire truck remained on the island, another crew waited on the causeway, “just strategically sticking around just in case it ended up somewhere,” said Smith. Others staged, along with South Thomaston EMS, at Atwood Lobster, in South Thomaston.
All the while, the boat was still in flames.
“I’m surprised it’s still floating,” said Smith after the boat was extinguished and towed to Atwood’s.
Shortly after 8 a.m., the vessel was tied securely, and turned over to the responsibility of the arriving Marine Patrol unit.