A U.S. Coast Guard vessel approaches a burning boat in Southwest Harbor Tuesday evening. PHOTO COURTESY OF JACK MARTEL

Flames destroy boat; kerosene heater is blamed

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — A kerosene heater is believed to be the source of a fire that destroyed a fishing boat here Tuesday night, according to Chief Sam Chisholm of the Southwest Harbor Fire Department.

Only the charred hulls remained at daybreak Wednesday. PHOTO BY MARK GOOD

Only the charred hulls remained at daybreak Wednesday.

No one was on board the We’re Here, which is owned by Nahum Kelley. The boat was not insured, Chisholm said.

Firefighters received a call from the U. S. Coast Guard base shortly after 11 p.m. reporting that a boat moored off the Coast Guard dock was on fire.

“They spotted it on their security camera,” Chisholm said.

While the fire department was responding, the Coast Guard went out in one of their small boats. Realizing a larger vessel was needed, they returned to the dock and headed back out with a 47-foot vessel equipped with a fire hose, Chisholm said. By then the flames had burned through the mooring rope and the We’re Here was afire and adrift in the harbor.

Getting the boat to shore so Southwest Harbor firefighters could extinguish the blaze was not an easy task. Fortunately, the Coast Guard was able to guide the vessel into the Lower Town Dock using only water pressure from the fire hose and prop wash from the patrol boat, Chisholm said.

“It was pretty slick to watch,” the chief said. “It was kind of like watching a border collie herding sheep.”

Chisholm said Kelley’s boat was rigged for scallop fishing. The fiberglass-covered wooden hulled vessel is a total loss, he said.

On Wednesday morning, the burned out boat was tied up at the Lower Town Dock as the owner and others prepared to have the hulk hauled away.

Posted by Southwest Harbor Fire Department on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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