• 11 boats burn in marina fire caused by candle


    SEATTLE - A building burned, seven boats sank and four others were damaged early Monday in a three-alarm marina fire on Lake Union.

    Firefighters said the blaze was caused by an unattended candle on a boat.

    Video shows flames tearing through the building and boats at Western Yacht Harbor, 2412 Westlake Avenue North, at 1 a.m.

    PHOTOS: Fire rips through building, boats at marina

    A fire department spokeswoman said the fire started on a boat and quickly spread to other boats on the dock.

    Some boats broke free of the dock after their lines burned, but firefighters were able put out the flames on the stray boats and secure them again.


    Many of the boats at the marina are live-aboards, several people had to be rescued during the fire, but no one was hurt or unaccounted for.

    Dave Doody lives on a houseboat just feet away from the burning dock and all of the commotion woke him up.

    His neighbors even hosed down roofs, fearing flying embers might spark a new fire.

    "House boaters know that everything is in such close proximinty you have to take any type of small fire seriously, so anything that big is just terrifying," Doody said.

    House boat owner Casey O'Connor saw the flames and grabbed an air horn and set it off to wake up her neighbors.

    "It was just a firestorm of embers that was coming from the fire," O'Connor said, "I came out and blew the air horn a few times to get people out. It was growing quickly."

    O’Connor said she stomped on embers on the dock as she was evacuating.

    Cheryl McChesney owns Blue Water Yachts, which moors boats next to the fire.

    She rushed down to the marina when she saw video a viewer sent to the KIRO 7 Facebook page.

    "I can't thank the fire department men and women enough that they were able to preserve as much as possible," McChesney said.

    About 75 or 80 firefighters were at the scene to put out the fire.  It was out within about an hour.

    Crews from the Department of Ecology are working with the US Coast Guard to clean up the fuel spill. They're using booms to contain the hazardous spill and pads to soak up oil and fuel that spilled during the fire. Divers checked fuel tanks on four the sunken boats Monday afternoon. All of those fuel tanks were empty.

    Crews haven’t been able to access three of the boats that sank. They are under the marina building that was destroyed in the fire and there is concern it could collapse. A structural engineer plans to inspect the building Tuesday.

    The cleanup and salvage efforts are expected to take days.

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