Fire destroys boats at Annapolis marina

Posted on Written by Reagan Haynes

Photo courtesy of Pamela Batchelder.

A fire at Horn Point Harbor Marina in Annapolis, Md., engulfed two boats Thursday morning.

Property owner Seth Lehner, the marina’s landlord, told Trade Only Today that there were no injuries and that the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“I haven’t been there to see it firsthand,” Lehner told Trade Only when reached on his cellphone. “My understanding is one of the boats in the water caught fire. We don’t yet know how that happened. The fire then spread to a second vessel. It sounds like the local fire department made it to the scene quite quickly. I think the boats were on fire about two hours, plus or minus.”

The fire began about 10:30 a.m., Lehner said.

Pamela Batchelder, who is with Trade Only sister publication PassageMaker magazine, saw flames engulf the boats at the marina she can see from her office window.

“The fire started on the first boat and the firemen could not get it out quick enough, so it spread to the other boat — scary to watch,” Batchelder told Trade Only in an email. “They had several trucks here working on it and then the fire department had a fire boat come in.”

Photo courtesy of Pamela Batchelder.

Photo courtesy of Pamela Batchelder.

Batchelder was able to capture several photos on her smartphone before the fire was extinguished.

Anne Arundel County and Annapolis City fire departments did not immediately return calls for comment, and the Annapolis Coast Guard said it did not respond to the fire.

The (Annapolis) Capital Gazette reported that the fire caused an estimated $200,000 in damage to the two boats. Nearly 64 firefighters battled the fire for more than two hours.

The fire began on a 1984 Symbol 41 and spread to a neighboring 1989 44-foot Viking. Each of the boats sustained about $100,000 in damage, city fire officials told the paper. Two people living on the boat where the fire originated and another on the neighboring boat were displaced. All are being assisted by family and friends, said Capt. Janet Kiefler, a fire department spokeswoman.

Although the fire was quickly extinguished, fire officials told the paper that frigid weather hampered their efforts to fight it. Fire boats from the city and Anne Arundel County were unable to respond because of icing conditions where they were moored.


2 comments on “Fire destroys boats at Annapolis marina

  1. John McDevitt

    A number of applicable marine fire codes prohibit the use of portable heaters on unattended boats. Was a portable heater left unattended?
    Did the boat have a smoke alarm that would have alerted someone on the dock during the early moments in those ‘two hours’? Probably not – the boating industry does not require smoke alarms.

  2. Andrew

    If you know of specific codes prohibiting portable heaters use while unattended post a them or link them. I have found them on occation mostly in city areas. Installing permanent heaters is fairly easy in most boats and considerably safer. Older boats used to have factory option of forced air resistant heat which worked quite well when properly installed and are very safe.
    West Marine heaters while some what better than mass marketed heaters you buy at drug stores and Wall Mart are not much better. The main difference is they use metal case instead of plastic. The internal parts appear identical when I compared them. However they are still portable heaters with numerous downfalls from wiring, ships wiring, outlets burning, arcing, stability, and many others.
    Bottom line is if you need heat on boat a boat install it permanently and save space and worry for everyone. I lived aboard 15 years and felt much better having my boat correctly wired for heat. Having good heat on a boats is necessity of life on a live aboard. Nothing is perfect but we like to reduce the odds of failure as low as possible.
    Also note that we have no idea what the cause of the fires was whether, if any portable heat was used, any failure of installed electric on the boat, etc. Glad the people were safe on the boats and hopefully they recover finacially from thier loss.

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