Coast Guard responds to boat fire, pollution on Vashon Island

A photo taken by an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Air Station Port Angeles shows a sheen in and around the location of an extinguished boat fire on Vashon Island, WA, on Monday, March 29. Two 25-foot yachts sank at the marina's south pier as a result of the fire. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Port Angeles)

A photo taken by an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew from Air Station Port Angeles shows a sheen in and around the location of an extinguished boat fire on Vashon Island, WA, on Monday, March 29.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Port Angeles)

SEATTLE — The Coast Guard and partner agencies responded to a boat fire Monday morning at Quartermaster Harbor Yacht Club on Vashon Island this morning.

At 4:16 a.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound received notification from dispatchers at Valley Communications Center that two 40-foot yachts were on fire at the end of the marina’s south pier and local fire department personnel were on scene.

At approximately 4:30 a.m., a Coast Guard Station Seattle 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew responded and an Air Station Port Angeles aircrew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter diverted from routine operations at King County International Airport.

Once on scene, the Coast Guard Station Seattle boat crew began enforcing a 500-yard safety zone, while a Vashon Island Fire Department and Tacoma Fire Department boat crews extinguished the flames. The helicopter aircrew provided aerial support and information regarding observable pollution in the water.

At 7:30 a.m., the Vashon Island Fire Chief reported that no one was aboard either vessel, both of which sank at the pier. The helicopter aircrew reported a 60-foot by 120-foot visible sheen in and around the marina.

At 8 a.m. Coast Guard pollution responders from Sector Puget Sound were en route to the scene. Containment and cleanup operations are ongoing, and the safety zone is no longer being enforced.

“The Coast Guard and our port partners are working with the vessel owners to mitigate impact on the environment and to remove pollutants and the vessels from the waterway,” said Lt. Cmdr. Brett Ettinger, chief of incident management at Sector Puget Sound.

An estimated maximum potential for pollution is 600 gallons of gasoline.

Responding agencies/units:

  • U.S. Coast Guard Station Seattle (45-Foot Response Boat-Medium)
  • U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles (MH-65 Dolphin helicopter)
  • U.S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound Incident Management Division (pollution response team)
  • Tacoma Fire Department Marine Unit
  • Vashon Island Fire Department
  • Washington State Department of Ecology
  • Washington State Department of Natural Resources

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