Two saved in dramatic boat fire rescue

Photo submitted via ReportIt

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The cleanup will continue Monday after a massive fire involving six boats at the Rhode Island Yacht Club in Cranston. While some were sleeping on their boats, the flames quickly spread late Saturday night, trapping two people.

“Some people were woken up by other members, so hats off to them for saving lives,”  Craig Forbes, Treasurer of the RI Yacht Club said.

When fire crews arrived just after 11 p.m., they were greeted to “a wall of flames,” according to the Deputy Fire Chief. Fire boats from Cranston and Warwick had to get around that fire wall to rescue two people. According to fire officials, six boats that were in the water caught fire, as well as three other boats that were standing in the surrounding area.

“People were trapped on their boats and couldn’t cross the docks so they were put on the boats and brought to shore,” explained Deputy Chief Steven MacIntosh.

Some members heard about the fire overnight, but then visited the Yacht Club Sunday to see the damage for themselves.

“It was pretty horrific and then to see the boats today, the way they are, to think nobody got hurt, we’re very, very fortunate,” Paul Aldrich, a RI Yacht Club member said.

Authorities say there are some major environmental concerns, because three of the vessels that caught fire have sunk and leaked fuel into the water. The DEM put booms in place so workers could clean up the oil and gasoline.

The damage is estimated at more than $1 million.

“We’re glad things worked out the way they did, you can always replace property,” continued Forbes.

With the summer boating season right around the corner, the Yacht Club is planning to rebuild.

Aldrich said, “This club will be up and running in no time.”

Meanwhile, the Cranston Fire Marshal said the city decided to turn the boats over to the insurance company. Once the boats are pulled from the water, the company will bring in experts to try to determine a cause of the fire.

One firefighter was treated for a back injury, and another person was taken to the hospital with chest pain.

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