In the morning of Friday, December 10, 32-meter S/Y Danneskjold and 30-meter Ocean Alexander M/Y Drinkability caught fire at the Hinckley Yachts yard in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. A man working on one of the vessels was transported to an area hospital for a burn injury, local media WPRI reports. Both boats have been declared a total loss.
Danneskjold owner Bill Duker told BOAT International that his crew were forced to “run for their lives” and that “they are very shaken — it all happened very fast.”
It is understood that the fire originated on Drinkability, which was in a travel lift while shipyard staff worked on the bottom of the boat, and Danneskjold was alongside Drinkability undergoing maintenance work.
Portsmouth’s Emergency Management Director Ray Perry says the blaze started when workers were making repairs to the hull of a motor yacht and they had cut a section of the hull and were working with resin, a flammable substance, according to local media The Newport Daily News. Three small propane tanks exploded while he was on the scene, but larger propane tanks in the area were moved.
Eight municipalities were called to assist in fighting the blaze and contain it so it wouldn’t spread, like to a nearby structure with vintage yachts. Portsmouth police Detective John Cahoon says workers pulled a boat out of the water and were reinforcing the bottom of the vessel when “somehow the fire started,” The Newport Daily News reports.
According to BOAT International, Duker was informed of the incident from a crewmember and that his first concern was for his crew. “For us, it’s a financial issue but for them, it’s their home and their jobs and all the plans they had made,” he says. “We’ve assured them that we’ll make sure they’re okay.” He purchased the vessel at the end of October, but he hadn’t even gotten the chance to spend a night on board.
The official cause of the fire remains unknown.