PEI

Fire engulfs motorboat on West River

Firefighters are still trying to determine the cause of a fire that destroyed a 24-foot motorboat Friday evening near Cornwall.

Woman treated for minor burns at the scene

When firefighters arrived, this boat was engulfed in flames. (Paul Matte)

Firefighters are still trying to determine the cause of a fire that destroyed a 24-foot motorboat Friday evening near Cornwall, P.E.I.

When firefighters arrived at about 8 p.m., a boat moored near the West River causeway was engulfed in flames.

Anson Grant, chief of the nearby North River Fire Department, says firefighters are still trying to determine how many people were on board the boat at the time of the fire.

"There were passengers on the vessel at the time," said Grant.

"They did get off and swam to shore. One female did sustain minor injuries to her hands and legs, just some first-degree burns I believe is what it was."

'They didn't have much time to get off'

Paramedics treated the woman at the scene. 

Once firefighters got the fire knocked down, they attached a line to the burning boat and pulled it closer to shore (Paul Matte)

"It did go pretty fast and they didn't have much time to get off," said Grant.

Paul Matte of Charlottetown was dropping his wife and children off nearby when he saw black smoke. He took a closer look and saw the fire.

Matte is a boater himself.

A boat moored near the West River causeway went up in flames at about 8 p.m. Friday night. (Paul Matte) 0:14

"It looked like it had just started," said Matte, who captured photos and video.

"I approached fairly quickly and asked if there was anybody on board and called 911."

'We don't get those calls everyday'

Everybody was off the boat by the time Matte arrived on the scene. 

This is all that remains of a boat that caught fire on the West River Friday evening. (Paul Matte )

The fire marshal's office has been called in to investigate.

Despite being on an Island, Grant said marine fires are rare. 

The boat was moored about 30 metres offshore. 

"We don't get those calls everyday, fortunately," said Grant.

"We do have a small watercraft that we put in the water with a portable pump and a hoseline and we were able to get some water on the fire although it was limited to what we could do."

Once they got the fire knocked down, firefighters attached a line to the burning boat and pulled it closer to shore where they could make use of fire trucks.

"I've been on the fire department for 23 years and that's only really the second [marine fire] in my career," said Grant.

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About the Author

Wayne Thibodeau

Prince Edward Island

Wayne Thibodeau is a reporter/editor with CBC Prince Edward Island. He has worked as a reporter, editor, photographer and video journalist in print, digital and TV for more than 20 years. He can be reached at Wayne.Thibodeau@CBC.ca

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