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Gibsons volunteers extinguish fire on liveaboard boat

Unoccupied vessel caught fire at Gibsons Marina on March 3
Gibsons Marina fire
A boat caught fire on March 3 at Gibsons Marina.

A liveaboard boat at Gibsons Marina caught fire in the morning of March 3, leading to a three-and-a-half-hour response from the Gibsons & District Volunteer Fire Department and nearby people lending a hand. 

Fire chief Rob Michael told Coast Reporter they were called to the scene at 11:44 a.m. for a boat on fire. When they arrived at 11:49 a.m., heavy smoke was visible with obvious fire. He said the crew was able to quickly knock the fire down. 

No one was aboard the vessel at the time, and no other boats or infrastructure were damaged, Michael said, in part because “helpful bystanders” moved and repositioned nearby boats to prevent the fire from spreading.

“There’s both fire and water damage to the boat,” he said. To knock down the fire, volunteers “have to use caution to apply a generous amount of water and, at the same time, not put too much water that would actually sink the boat and cause environmental hazard.” Sometimes they will use foam, which is lighter, but Michael said they also try to avoid putting too much foam into the ocean. 

“It was fairly contained so the damage was, I think, content-related. It did not get into the structure of the boat too much, but there's a lot of water and a lot of repair work would need to happen,” Michael said. 

Seventeen volunteer firefighters attended the call, and BC Ambulance, and Sunshine Coast RCMP were also on the scene. The boat owner was referred to the Emergency Support Services team, who can assist with short-term accommodation, food and clothing. 

An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing, but Michael said they suspect it may be related to an electrical portable heater.