Fire destroys boat at Ucluelet harbour but firefighters prevent fire’s spread

Fire destroys boat at Ucluelet harbour but firefighters prevent fire's spread
Ucluelet Fire Rescue/Facebook
Ucluelet firefighters were called to a boat fire at 1:25 a.m. on Jan. 5, 2023.

A fire has destroyed a boat in Ucluelet in spite of the efforts of firefighters who worked through the night trying to douse the flames.

It happened at the Harbour West dock, also known as the Japanese dock, after first signs of a fire were reported at 1:25 a.m. Thursday.

The harbour master called 911 after he was alerted to the blaze and by the time he arrived it was already fully involved.

Ucluelet Fire Rescue arrived soon after.

“It was a fibreglass hull vessel. The hull had already been breached by the time we got there so it was quite hot and it had been burning for quite some time,” said Chief Rick Geddes, Ucluelet’s fire chief.

But despite strong winds, the harbour master says he was amazed firefighters were able to contain the fire and prevent it from damaging the neighbouring boats.

The fire chief says the wind made the fire much more challenging which kept the 10 volunteer firefighters working until 6:30 Thursday morning.

“As it began to sink the fuel caught fire again and it created a bit of a fire on top of the water that we had to deal with again and that became quite tricky because it was quite windy last night so the wind was swirling the fuel around so keeping that from the dock and other vessels was hugely challenging,” said Geddes.

The 42-foot pleasure craft was called the Veranda and a local family had purchased it this past summer. The boat was insured.

The chief says boats rarely catch on fire along Ucluelet’s shores and yet last Thursday nearly to the exact hour Ucluelet firefighters were called to another fire on a fishing boat across the harbour.

The chief says determining the cause of this morning’s fire with the boat sinking might not be possible though Fisheries and Oceans will be in charge of the investigation as the boat is on the water.

It’s expected the boat will be raised and hulled away at a time yet to be determined.

Ucluelet and Tofino were among a large swath of Vancouver Island’s west coast that lost power in December when trees fell across some power lines on Highway 4.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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