A sailboat that exploded and caught fire west of the Selkirk Trestle Bridge early Thursday morning has sunk, according to the Victoria Fire Department.
Fire crews responded at around 1:18 a.m. after reports of an explosion and subsequent fire on a 30 to 40 foot (nine to 12 metre) boat in the Selkirk Waterway area, west of the Selkirk Trestle Bridge and on the Banfield Park side of the water.
A total of five firefighters on a fireboat used foam streams to extinguish the fire.
Battalion Chief Greg Batters said Thursday that crews quickly put out the flames and the explosion was probably caused by a propane cylinder of some sort.
“They heard an explosion en route,” Batters said.
He also said there was a lot of heat generated during the fire on the fibreglass boat, which means it was difficult for firefighters to get close to the flames.
“It was not a survivable environment,” Batters said.
Witness Adawn Fidler said she heard a loud bang and then saw a boat was on fire at around 12:30 a.m. She also said she heard another man on a nearby boat yell out and ask if someone was alive but did not hear if anyone responded.
“The boat was engulfed in a matter of a minute,” Fidler told CHEK News.
“I called 911 and they came in about five minutes and put out the fire.”
There is no confirmation at this time of whether or not anyone was on board at the time of the explosion. However, the firefighters did look around to see if they could see anyone while they were putting out the flames. Batters said there was no indication of anyone on board.
The boat sank after the fire was extinguished and the Canadian Coast Guard was trying to tow it to shore.
The Canadian Coast Guard and police will search the wreckage and have a discussion about whether or not to remove the boat from the water. A dive team searched the area Thursday morning but did not find a body.
The Dead Boats Society said the boat was stripped and full of garbage at the time of the fire.