Bystanders jump into action to put out boat fire


Chris Basinger / Petersburg Pilot

Firefighters use a positive pressure ventilation fan to clear smoke from the interior of the Lady Lou after the fire was put out.

The Petersburg Volunteer Fire Department responded to a fire in Middle Harbor on Monday after smoke was spotted coming from a docked boat.

The fire was on the Lady Lou, owned by Terry Slafter, and came from the oil stove on board, according to Assistant Fire Chief Dave Berg.

Berg said the stove may have had an installation problem that was a result of age and use and it appeared to have fallen down on one side.

The area underneath and surrounding the stove was charred.

According to Berg, it appeared that Slafter, who lives aboard the boat, woke up to smoke in the cabin.

Dan O'Neil, who was cleaning his own boat, said he had smelled the smoke from the Lady Lou and investigated it after Julie Hursey spotted the smoke and yelled to him.

Chris Basinger / Petersburg Pilot

The cabin of the Lady Lou was covered in ash following a fire caused by an oil stove.

"A big blaze came up on the side so I ran and got my fire extinguisher, took three blasts, couple times in, got a breath, went back in, did it again," O'Neil said.

Hursey also called the harbor office to report the fire.

"It was handled very well by bystanders which is really important in the harbor," Berg said

The PVFD were called around 11:20 a.m. and two fire engines responded shortly after.

Firefighters arrived on board equipped with a water can fire extinguisher and successfully put the smoldering fire out.

After ensuring that there was no extension of the flames, firefighters used a positive pressure ventilation fan to rid the boat of gasses.

Berg reported that Slafter was not transported by emergency services but was advised to seek help if he felt compromised by any smoke inhalation.


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