July 14, 2020

Boat FIreSaturday, July 4th about 4:40 p.m., a boat had just finished refuelling at Bridge Port Marina in Orillia, Ontario when an explosion almost knocked marina President Trevor Lecluse right over. He was about 100 feet away when the fire erupted. Other marina staff were there as well.

Quick-thinking marina staff ensured boat fire was contained, with one Bridge Port staffer grabbing two fire extinguishers and holding the fire off long enough the one person onboard to get off the boat. Staff hit the marina emergency fuel system shut off, but the vessel’s fire suppression system did not deploy.

The boat was hastily untied and pushed out into the channel and away from the fuel dock with the assistance of the OPP boat that had quickly responded. The older aft cabin cruiser had just been filled up and coincidentally, the marina tanks had just been filled earlier that day.

Boating Industry Canada News Week contacted the marina and Trevor Lecluse described the sequence of events. After the initial explosion and immediate actions of marina staff to push the boat away from the docks and buildings, 911 calls went out. Within minutes, Orillia Fire Chief Brent Thomas was on the scene and other first responders joined quickly.

Boat Fire"Marina staff did a fantastic job using some extinguishers (to attempt to put out the blaze), but quickly realized the fire was spreading so the vessel was pushed away from the dock," Thomas told media outlet OrilliaMatters.

"They evacuated the area and shut down their fuel pumps before Orillia Fire arrived on scene. The staff there did exactly what their fire safety plan requires and did it well," said Thomas, in praising the efforts of marina staff.

Orillia Fire, with the assistance of Rama Fire and Ramara Fire marine units, quickly knocked down the fire then carefully extinguished the remaining fire "while being able to keep the vessel's fuel on board so as not to contaminate the waterway."

"We had the assistance of OPP and were in contact with the Spills Action Centre, Canadian Coast Guard and MTO Marine Safety division to ensure safety of boaters and the environment were maintained," Thomas told OrilliaMatters.

Boat FireTrevor Lecluse was a bit more relaxed when News Week spoke to him four days later, but the stress and the realization of what could have happened was still overwhelming. No one was hurt, no fuel was spilled and miraculously, all the emergency people and first responders were right there at the moment they were needed.

Following the successful containment and salvage of the destroyed vessel and the fuel onboard, efforts to document the events and to use this as a learning and training opportunity started immediately.

What would you have done if this happened at your club or marina?

Would your people have acted as quickly (or as heroically)? Are fire extinguishers as near at hand?

Between Bridge Port Marina and Mariposa next door, there are about 400 slips. A fire could have spread out of control in mere minutes, and with epic damage if things had gone differently.

We are relieved that this major event resulted in no significant injury or loss and we look forward to the learning that is expected to come of this.
Boat Fire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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