BOSTON (WHDH) - As many as 50 firefighters jumped from one houseboat to the next as they battled a large blaze that broke out at a marina in Charlestown late Tuesday night, sinking two homes and badly damaging a third.
Fire crews racing to Constitution Road just before 11:30 p.m. found a boat fully engulfed in flames and two others that had also ignited, according to Boston Deputy Fire Chief Robert Calobrisi.
The firefighters attacked the blaze from both the ground and the North Washington Street Bridge.
Calobrisi says he believes fuel from one of the boats made extinguishing the flames more difficult.
“I got to believe there was some diesel fuel onboard one of the larger boats that kept stoking the fire and as soon as you hit it and darkened it down, it would reignite again,” he said.
The firefighters were also faced with other challenges, including navigating through the tight area of the marina and dragging fire hose for several blocks to get enough water on the blaze.
The stubborn fire was eventually extinguished after the department’s marine unit sprayed flame retardant foam onto the boats.
Walter Hope, who lived on one of the boats for 15 years, said he scrambled to extinguish the fire but it became too overwhelming.
“These are people’s homes. They’re not luxuries,” he said. “We tried to put the fire out. We used six different fire extinguishers but it just kept coming back.”
Another woman who was on one of the vessels managed to escape unharmed.
Two of the boats ended up sinking. A third may be a total loss. Calobrisi estimated damages at $1 million.
There were no other reported injuries.
“We’re just pretty fortunate that no one was hurt,” Calobrisi said. “We’re grateful for that actually and that’s the main thing. You can replace a boat, you can’t replace a person.”
The US Coast Guard will handle the environmental cleanup of the fuel.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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