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Society

Large Fire Consumes Boats, Buildings, Vehicles at Boatyard

August 20, 2022

MATTAPOISETT, Mass. — A huge fire at a Massachusetts marina turned several boats, buildings and vehicles into burned-out shells Friday, producing a plume of black smoke so thick it was picked up by weather radar.

Aerial video taken by WCVB-TV showed much of the boatyard in Mattapoisett engulfed in flames, with the fire apparently limited to buildings and boats on land. A firefighting vessel could be seen pulled up to the dock, getting as close as possible as it sprayed a jet of water onto one of the smoldering sailboats.

“A boat caught fire in one of the sheds, and it went up very, very fast,” Tim Price, a mechanic at the boatyard, told WJAR-TV. “Everything went up. I think we lost everything.”

Price said he knew of one person who was injured, but did not elaborate.

The cause of blaze is under investigation, and officials at the Mattapoisett fire and police departments said no one was available to comment. Firefighters from around the region responded to the blaze, including from as far as Providence, Rhode Island, about 30 miles away.

Drought conditions and high winds Friday in the Mattapoisett area had prompted the National Weather Service to issue a warning of elevated fire risk. The blaze at the marina sent dense black smoke over southeastern Massachusetts that could be seen for miles.

The Weather Service said on Twitter that its radar had detected “what is most likely a smoke plume” in Mattapoisett.

Mattapoisett resident Richard Walker, 72, was heading out on a motorcycle ride when he spotted the cloud of smoke. He said he could see it 5 miles (8 kilometers) away as he continued on his ride.

“There were flames and billowing black smoke. So much of it,” Walker said. “Thankfully, it looks like a lot of people had their boats out in the harbor. There didn’t seem to be too many in the yard.”

Pamela Fleming saw the fire from the back deck of her summer home. She said the fire knocked out power to the area and forced the closure of a road to a popular beach and lighthouse just beyond the marina.

“The popping sounds of all the fuel and other combustibles exploding was very eerie,” Fleming said. “The smoke was aggressively billowing from the area. As soon as it rose, there was more black heavy rolling smoke to take its place.”

Several other people posted images and video of the fire and smoke on social media.

The Mattapoisett Boatyard’s website says it’s been a family-owned marina since 1962, catering primarily to recreational boaters, and has the capacity to store up to 150 vessels during the summer that aren’t in use or are for sale.

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