On Friday, May 25, 2018, at 7:15 pm, the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company was dispatched for a Boat Fire in the Chester River, just off the Sultana Dock. Thisoccurred just as the festivities celebrating the Chestertown Tea Party were getting started. Quite a few pleasure boats had already dropped anchor in the river off Chestertown.
Additional companies on the first dispatch included… Kent & Queen Annes Rescue Squad (Boat), Betterton Volunteer Fire Company (Boat), Rock Hall Volunteer Fire Company (Boat) and the Galena Volunteer Fire Company (Boat). The United States Coast Guard and Maryland Department of Natural Resources was notified at the same time as the dispatch.
Units arriving on the scene found a large, motorized pleasure vessel with smoke showing. There was no one on board the vessel. The owner had abandoned it for a smaller boat, nearby. We used the Rescue Squad’s boat as a work platform. Their boat is equipped with a fire pump and hose. In full protective clothing and gear, including self contained breathing apparatus, crews entered the vessel with a charged hose line, hand tools and a dry chemical fire extinguisher.
Crews located the fire origin in the bilge / engine compartment. Using the dry chemical fire extinguisher, the fire was quickly brought under control. Firefighters then spent some extra time ensuring the fire was completely out and removing smoke from the boat.
The incident was turned over to the Maryland Natural Resources Police for follow-up investigation. There were no injuries to civilians or emergency personnel.