Ottawa

'It was our oasis': Boats catch fire at Petrie Island marina

Several boats caught fire at a marina across from Petrie Island early Thursday morning, and both police and firefighters are investigating.

Police and firefighters investigating Thursday morning incident

Two boats were destroyed and a third was damaged in a fire that broke out at a marina across from Petrie Island on Thursday morning. 0:25

Several boats caught fire at a marina across from Petrie Island early Thursday morning, and both police and firefighters are investigating.

The blaze was reported just after 4:30 a.m. at Oziles' Marina and Tackle Shop off Trim Road, according to Ottawa's fire department.

Ottawa police and firefighters are investigating. (Idil Mussa/CBC)

When firefighters arrived two boats were engulfed in flames, according to Capt. Mark Smith. Their first priority was to make sure no one was inside any of the surrounding boats, and then they turned to the fire.

Some people were sleeping in nearby boats but managed to get away safely.

One of the engulfed boats sank, the other boat was destroyed but didn't sink, and a third boat sustained superficial fire damage.

"Nobody got hurt. That's the important thing," said Yves Grandmaitre, who owns the marina. "Now we're going to be in a clean-up mode. The investigators will be doing their job and our first priority is getting things cleaned up and minimizing any environmental damage."

Three boats caught fire at Oziles' Marina and Tackle Shop on Petrie Island early Thursday morning. (Scott Stilborn/Ottawa Fire Services)

The fire department sent a hazardous materials team to try to contain and clean up the of fuel that spilled out of the sunken boat into the Ottawa River.

The Canadian Coast Guard said in a release that the 870-litre fuel tanks weren't full at the time and that floating absorbent barriers were deployed to help capture any pollution.

The coast guard also added that "Canadian law holds polluters responsible for costs associated with cleaning up spills."

The Ministry of the Environment has been notified and was also responding, firefighters said.

One firefighter was taken to hospital to be treated for heat exhaustion.

'It was our little piece of paradise'

Chantal Dramisino, who owned the boat that sank, said she's thankful she and her partner weren't sleeping on the boat overnight, as they often do.

"It was our getaway, it was our oasis, it was the boat that we had waited for so long. It was our little piece of paradise. But I'm thankful that we hadn't been sleeping on the boat last night because we often come down and stay overnight," she said.

"We had a couple good years out of it, I guess. Hopefully we'll get another one just like it."

Crews remained at the marina later Thursday morning and a fire investigator was called out to the scene. The Canadian Coast Guard was also made aware of the situation, firefighters said.