Crews battle fierce fire on Tacoma commercial fishing boat for hours

TACOMA, Wash. — Crews on three fire boats battled a stubborn fire for hours overnight on a moored commercial fishing boat at the Port of Tacoma.

It started near the 400 block of East Alexander off Marine View Drive around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday and continued to burn Thursday evening.

>>PHOTOS: Tacoma fishing boat fire burns for hours

As of 5 p.m., the fire was still smoldering hours after huge flames had shot into the air.

A crew on Tacoma fireboat Destiny was the first to arrive and found heavy flames coming from the pilot house of the boat Aleutian Falcon, owned by Trident Seafoods.

Crews were forced to fight the flames from outside the boat in case it sank or rolled over. The flames were fought from fireboats because the dock, which is owned by Trident Seafoods, has not been ruled to be safe for fire crews.

The ship is now listing from water used to fight the fire and could sink or roll, spilling fuel and chemicals into the water.

Officials said the boat has 9,800 pounds of ammonia on board that’s used for fish freezers. Crews focused on keeping the hull cool, where the ammonia is kept, to prevent the chemicals from catching fire.

There are also at least 48,000 gallons of diesel fuel on the ship. Booms were already placed around the boat because work was being done on the vessel. The Coast Guard is watching for spills and the Department of Ecology was notified.

The Coast Guard issued a 1,500-yard safety zone as the fire continued to burn.

A cruise ship beside the boat was moved, but an oil barge remained behind the ship during the fire.

It’s the third boat to catch fire in Commencement Bay within a week.

Last week, just a few miles over on Dock Street, crews had to sink a sailboat and speedboat after both caught fire.

The cause of Thursday’s fire remains under investigation.