SEATTLE – On Sunday, May 21, 2017, at 7:49 p.m., firefighters were dispatched to the 5100 block of Shilshole Ave. NW for multiple boats on fire inside of a boat house on Salmon Bay.
When crews arrived, they found heavy black smoke and flames visible from the structure located on the water with docks on both the east and west sides. Firefighters on the fireboat battled the blaze with a defensive tactic until the boat house structure was deemed safe to enter.
Land-based units made entry into the structure to combat several small spot fires around 8:30 p.m. once the main body of the fire was under control. A total of 4-5 boats caught fire.
Fire crews stayed on-scene throughout the evening hours to monitor for spot fires and conduct fire watch operations. Seattle Fire Rescue 1 Divers were on-scene for precautionary measures and Seattle Police Harbor Patrol assisted in the incident.
Fire Investigation Unit members ruled the fire as accidental and determined the cause was spontaneous combustion from improperly discarded staining rags (with an oil-based product). The fire started in the structure itself, and spread to the boats inside the structure. The estimated loss is four million dollars.
Photo credit: John Odegard