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Fire damages boats at Connecticut yard

Firefighters battled a blaze Thursday that destroyed one boat and damaged at least three others in winter storage at the Dodson Boatyard in Stonington, Conn.

A column of thick black smoke was visible from a mile away Thursday morning, according to The Day in New London.

Early stages of firefighting were complicated by live wires in the vicinity and by the proximity of Amtrak rail and electric lines.

Firefighters began streaming water on the fire after electrical power was shut down and were able to contain the fire within an hour afterward, Stonington Fire Chief Jeffrey Hoadley told The Day.

No injuries were reported.

About 700 customers in Stonington temporarily lost power as a result of the fire and Amtrak shut off service between Kingston, R.I., and Mystic, Conn., for about three hours.

Dann Lockwood, general manager of the boatyard, told the paper that the fire could have been started in the process of dry-wrapping a boat or because of an electrical problem on one of the boats. But he said there were no definitive answers.

He estimated the property damage at hundreds of thousands of dollars. Possible damage to a fifth boat is also being investigated.

Lockwood said he hasn't seen such an occurrence in the more than 20 years he has been at the boatyard.

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