A boat explosion shook houses in a Newlands neighborhood late Monday and sent flames shooting 40 feet into the air, according to witnesses.
Fire crews received a report of the explosion and fire on the sport fishing boat at a dock at Hurlstone Street around 10:26 p.m. The boat, named Silver Fox, belongs to Mac McLean, brother of East End MLA Arden McLean.
No injuries were reported.
According to fire officers, the boat was engulfed in flames by the time fire crews arrived.
Anita Fausett-Khan, who lives on nearby Water Street, said she had just settled in for the night when she heard a loud bang. “The first explosion shook the house. After that, there was a second explosion but not as loud,” she said.
“I could see the fire a couple of streets down from my house …. When I made my way over to have a look, a lot of people had already gathered …I could still smell gasoline in the air when I got up next morning,” she added.
Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the explosion and boat fire.
The charred bow and stern of the boat were all that was visible Tuesday morning above the oily waters. Ash and melted fragments of fiberglass floated on the surface. The flames also severely damaged the wooden dock and surrounding bushes, and the heat of the flames peeled paint from a nearby shed. The intensity of the heat liquefied an aluminum awning frame, leaving a pool of raw alloy behind.
Fire Service Safety Inspector Tina Choy said fire officers arrived at 10:40 p.m. and the fire was extinguished by 11:04 p.m. She added that the Fire Service is communicating with the owner, police and the Department of Environment to recover the boat to determine the cause of the fire.
The late night fire left a sheen of fuel in the canal where the boat was located as well as in the main canal.
Chief Conservation Officer Mark Orr of the Department of Environment said a boom had been placed at the site to help control the spread of oil. “The boat is under water, so we don’t know if all the diesel burned … and what was left on the surface is a small amount. Until they raise the boat, nobody knows,” he said.
Boat owner Mr. McLean did not respond to requests for comment by press time.