Quick detection, fast response limit damage to boat fire on Miller Bay

Thanks to an early 911 call and quick response by firefighters, damage was limited, and there were no injuries in a late-night blaze Monday aboard a boat moored at a private Miller Bay dock.

Though the blaze’s exact cause has not been determined, investigators are looking closely at one of the most-common sources of boat fires — electrical issues, according to North Kitsap Fire & Rescue.

NKF&R and Poulsbo Fire Department crews were called to the incident between Suquamish and Kingston at 10:41 p.m. Tenants of the home on the property called 911 after noticing flames aboard the vessel.

The first unit arrived within five minutes from NKF&R’s Suquamish station and reported the 40- to 50-foot vessel to be partly involved in fire. Despite the estimated 450-foot distance between the driveway’s end and the fire, the crew had water to darken down flames within 3-1/2 minutes of arrival, per NKF&R.

Fire damage was limited to the flying bridge and one exterior wall of the older, houseboat-style boat with the most destruction in the vicinity of the boat’s connection to shore power. Smoke damage was evident throughout the craft’s cabin — except where one stateroom’s closed door protected it. The fire was stopped before it could spread to three neighboring vessels, preventing threats to the marine environment from spilled fuel and other debris.

The U.S. Fire Administration offers tips on preventing boat fires, including regular inspection of electrical wiring and connections — especially around saltwater where corrosion can be a significant problem. It’s also important to install and maintain smoke and carbon-monoxide alarms aboard boats.

The vessel was not insured.