According to an eyewitness, a Lagoon 42-foot catamarancaught fire in Simpson Bay, St. Maarten, on the afternoon of Thursday, January27.
The eyewitness says the fire also damaged two other vesselsnearby. “I’m not sure of other details, we just went across on our tender whenwe saw the smoke,” he wrote.
Another witness, Beez Evans, told Dockwalk that the “fire appeared to come from something adjacent tothe catamaran. It then spread on board.”
“I don’t know if it was a small fuel dock,” he added. “[It]appears to be a dry storage marina just outside Island Water World Shop.”
Evans also told Dockwalkthat he witnessed the crew of M/Y Attitudehead to the scene in the Intrepid with a crash pump and assisted before fire teamscame on the scene.
At 4:21 p.m., the first witness reported that the fire wasnow under control.
Calls to the marina have not been returned. Check back formore details.
Silvanico Pauletta, Section Head of Prevention, Preparation,and Education & Training at the St. Maarten Fire Department, said that uponarrival, the fire department “met three boats fully engulfed in flames.”
According to eyewitness Nico Bronkhurst, “The green cigarboat in the center set ablaze first, then the two adjacent boats, a catamaranand small motorboat, caught fire.”
The Daily Herald reported that a fuel leak caused the fire.According to the news source, individual Marc Belege was trying to remove the leakingfuel tank from his boat. The fire sparked after he finished cutting the deck toremove the tank and was transferring the fuel to another container.
The fire reportedly caught on Belege’s legs; he immediatelyjumped into the water before a boat picked him up. He told the Daily Herald hetried to get on board again to put the fire out, but in a second it had spreadto the other boats.
Belege was treated for his burns and no other people werereportedly on board any of the three boats.
“[We] prevented the fire from spreading to the rest of thepier and tried to keep the flames down,” says Pauletta, adding that while theflames were kept down, they had to really make sure they extinguished the firesince fiberglass was burning.
“The priority was that the boat was not sunk to prevent moredamage to the environment,” he said. “We fully extinguished the fire, and atthe end of the day, we prevented [the boat] from sinking completely.”
According to Pauletta, the coast guard placed a boom aroundthe incident as soon as they arrived to prevent debris from spreading.
He called saving the boats a “joint effort [among] the firedepartment, police, coast guard, harbor and marina.”
Photos by Nico Bronkhurst