Seven escape burning boat off Harbor Island

By Beth Brogan, Times Record
Posted Aug. 01, 2011, at 6 p.m.

PHIPPSBURG, Maine — A small boat carrying adults and children exploded Sunday afternoon off Harbor Island near Sebasco Harbor Resort, leading seven passengers — three adults and four children — to jump into the ocean but resulting in no injuries.

Dock hands at the resort were first at the scene of the fire, which occurred at approximately 2 p.m., Scott Sample, assistant general manager at Sebasco, said Monday.

Sample said the passengers on the boat — one a woman who works occasionally at the resort as a banquet bartender and who Sample described as “quite a remarkable person” — jumped into the water after the boat caught fire.

“It wasn’t a good situation but everybody was absolutely safe,” he said.

Phippsburg Fire Chief James Totman confirmed Monday that the seven passengers escaped the boat safely.

Approximately a dozen members of the volunteer fire department went to the scene, and local fishermen carried them — with portable pumps — to the boat, according to Totman.

“We borrowed whatever boats we could,” he said. “We depend on the fishermen.”

Firefighters “had the fire knocked down quite quickly, but there was still gas in the bottom of the boat,” Totman said, so a boat from nearby Brewer’s Boat Yard towed the vessel to Brewer’s. Once at the marina, the fire was totally extinguished in another approximately 45 minutes, according to Totman.

A small boat from the U.S. Coast Guard also went to the scene after the fire had been extinguished, according to Operations Specialist First Class Tiffany Haynes.

The boat was a total loss, Totman said.

Sample said he was pleased with the response of the resort’s dock hands — all “younger kids” who “acted in a way we would always expect in a distress call or fire.”

Maine Marine Patrol officers Clint Thompson and Thomas Hale continue to investigate the cause of the fire, according to Maine Marine Patrol Sgt. Daryen Granata.

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http://bangordailynews.com/2011/08/01/news/portland/seven-escape-burning-boat-off-harbor-island/ printed on November 28, 2014