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Coast Guard responds to boat fire on the Columbia River Bar

May 13, 2015

WARRENTON, Ore. — Coast Guard crews responded to a boat fire at the mouth of the Columbia River, Wednesday. 

A rescue boatcrew from Station Cape Disappointment arrived after the fire was extinguished by onboard suppressant systems and reportedly secured any source of potential pollution while towing the disabled, 34-foot vessel to Ilwaco, Washington.

Watchstanders at Station Cape Disappointment received a call for help on VHF-FM radio channel 16 at 11:57 a.m., from the fishermen aboard the Sea Nile, stating that they had a fire in their engine room and were adrift. A 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew from Station Cape Disappointment immediately responded and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Astoria launched to assist as needed.

Arriving on scene, the MLB crew was able to work with the fishermen to minimize any further potential for fire or pollution. A tow was quickly established between the two boats and the vessel was safely taken to Ilwaco where it was met by Coast Guard vessel inspectors.

“The vessel’s fire suppression system worked as intended and a potential life threatening situation was quickly under control,” said Chief Petty Officer Matthew Degerolamo, an operations specialist at Sector Columbia River. “The vessel’s onboard equipment, along with the quick thinking of the fishermen helped ensure they were safe and that help was coming once the incident occurred. Without their preparedness, a situation like this could have turned deadly.”

Coast Guard pollution responders have determined that there is no current threat of pollution from the damaged vessel. Coast Guard vessel inspectors are performing an investigation into the cause of the fire. 

The helicopter crew was released from the response and continued with scheduled operations.

There were no injuries reported.

Weather at the time of the incident was reported as cloudy, with light winds and five foot seas.