Firefighters had to stretch a hose nearly a mile to two boats engulfed in flames at the Newton Yacht Club early this morning, a fire department spokesman said. “We had a lot of problems with access and, ironically enough, with water,” Lt. Eric Fricke told the Herald after the fire was extinguished. “The yacht club is on the Newton/Boston line and whereas it’s not a heavily-populated residential area, hydrant coverage is poor and there is not a good place to pull up along the river.”
Fricke said no one was injured in the blaze, which was called into firefighters just after 3:30 a.m. By the time first responders arrived on scene, Fricke said two boats were ablaze, one estimated at 25 to 30 feet in length and another smaller vessel.
After cutting the boats loose to get them out into the Charles River and away from the boats docked at the yacht club, Fricke said firefighters had to run a line from the nearest hydrant, located at the Daly Ice Rink in Newton. He said the hydrant was nearly 4,000 feet away, and the hose needed to run down Nonantum Road to the club and then stretch an additional 800 feet to reach the fire.
“It was a long, long way,” Fricke said, adding that firefighters had to get water on the fire from the docks, or from nearby boats that they were given access to by owners who came to the scene.
“We had one engine at the hydrant and ran the line westbound,” he said. “They pumped water into another engine which pumped their own hand attack lines which went over the docks to the boat … it’s a long stretch.”
The Cambridge Fire Marine 1 unit responded, as did firefighters from Watertown. The fire has been put out and Fricke said a containment boom has been deployed to keep any residual fuel or another possible contaminants from spreading in the river. He said the Department of Environmental Protection is on scene.
“We are really thankful for the surrounding communities,” Fricke said.
The two boats involved in the fire have been “completely destroyed,” and other boats sustained “minor damage.” Asked whether anyone was aboard either of the boats at the time of the fire, Fricke said “not to my knowledge.”
Fricke said it is “way too early” to determine what caused the fire. He said the state fire marshal is investigating and the Coast Guard has offered assistance.
The fire is impacting rush hour traffic in the area of Nonantum Rd., and firefighters are advising commuters to seek an alternate route.
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