The Selkirk Waterway, the site of an early morning boat fire, is serene after a devastating fire destroyed and sank a 30 to 40 foot boat Thursday morning. (Ragnar Haagen/Black Press)

Fire and explosion sends boat to bottom of Selkirk Waterway

Selkirk Waterway lit up by early morning flames

An onboard fire and subsequent explosion sent a 30 to 40 foot (10 to 12 metre) boat to the bottom of the Selkirk Waterway in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The boat was situated on west of the Selkirk Trestle Bridge in the Banfield Park side of the waterway and, at about 1:18 a.m. Victoria Fire received a call reporting an a fire on board the ill-fated boat.

Battalion Chief Greg Batters said that fire crews responded and used the department’s fire boat to send streams of fire suppressing foam onto the fire, quickly extinguishing the flames.

The crews had heard what an explosion on route to the fire and it is assumed it was caused by the rupture of a propane cylinder on board the boat.

“These fires burn extremely hot, particularly on a fiberglass boat and it was impossible to get too close to the flames, but there was no indication of anyone on board at the time of the fire,” said Batters.

Victoria Police and the Coast Guard both responded to the fire as well and Batters said that it was the Coast Guard’s decision to try to tow the boat onto the beach to remove it from the waterway.

“It’s always a bit of a judgment call, and there are jurisdictional issues, on whether to try to tow these boats to shore because, if you do, you then have to stand guard over the remains of the boat until it’s removed. As it was the boat actually sank as the Coast Guard attempted to start that tow,” said Batters.

Batters went on to say that boat fires are not an uncommon occurrence.

“We tend to get about one call a month involving boat fires,” he said. “We had one the other day where a boat, up from the States, caught fire at the fueling dock. It was assumed that an overheated engine compartment combined with the fumes from the refueling process to cause that fire. It happens.”

Batters stopped short of blaming boat operators for any specific negligence or inappropriate actions leading to fires aboard their vessels.

“It can be mechanical error, or human error, but you can’t really say that they are doing any one thing wrong to cause these fires.”

Just Posted

Nearly a dozen coonhound puppies and their mother to reunite at Saanich park

Dogs’ former foster family initiated one-year reunion plans

Trio brings roller skating fever to Greater Victoria

Roller Skate Victoria offers workshops, summer camps and more

Government Street to be transformed into ‘people-priority’ zone

Victoria city council voted to limit traffic in the area by 2022

Central Saanich Fire Dept. now sun powered – good for budget and environment

Over production of power fed back to grid, results in credits over the winter

Concrete beams for McKenzie interchange set for installation this weekend

No lane closures expected during weekend work, says ministry

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

POLL: Do you carry reusable shopping bags?

While a court ruling determined the City of Victoria’s plastic bag ban… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Port Hardy RCMP cleared in arrest that left man with broken ribs, punctured lung: IIO

The IIO noted the matter will not be referred to crown counsel for consideration of charges.

Most Read