A small vessel burst into flames in Victoria’s Gorge Waterway early Friday morning.

Officers are now investigating into the matter, calling the fire “suspicious” in nature.

Just after 1 a.m. on May 22, officers and Victoria Fire Department firefighters were called to a report of a boat on fire near the Selkirk Trestle in the Bamfield Park portion of the Gorge Waterway. The boat was fully engulfed in flames when authorities arrived.

“We moved into our suppression manoeuvers and we were able to successfully extinguish the boat about 20 minutes after the first 911 call,” said Victoria Deputy Fire Chief Dan Atkinson.

Despite crews being able to douse the flames, the boat sunk during the incident. According to authorities, it is believed there was no one on board the vessel and no one was injured during the incident.

“Our members remained on scene until about…1:50 a.m., we cleared the scene at that time and there was no report of any injuries,” said Atkinson.

One nearby resident recalls not only what he saw, but what he heard. “I’d say the flames were probably a good 15-20 if not 30 feet up high. You could hear different valves and gas kind of lighting on fire” Said Charles Lavigne.

Rob Wickson, director of the Dead Boat Society – a non-profit dedicated to the disposal of abandoned boats – said this fire isn’t that shocking.

“Given the history of the area and what’s happened to other derelict boats like that, it’s not surprising,” Wickson told CHEK News.

Wickson is familiar with the boat that burned as he said it has been parked in the waterway for quite some time.

“I just noticed the past couple weeks that the mast was down and that gave me the suspicion that the person has given up on the boat,” Wickson said.

He added that when a boat fire occurs of this nature, it can be very dangerous to the surrounding area.

At around 9:30 a.m. on Friday, the remains of the vessel could be seen from the shoreline along the waterway. It appears that the vessel was completely destroyed along with the items onboard.

VicPD says an investigation is currently ongoing.

CHEK News