Port Angeles boat fire started in engine room
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Rob Ollikainen/Peninsula Daily News
Firefighters battle a blaze and acrid smoke at the converted fishing vessel, La Rata Bastarda, at Platypus Marine Inc. in Port Angeles on Monday afternoon.

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — A 73-foot, steel-hulled converted fishing boat caught fire Monday afternoon in a waterfront boatyard, blanketing the industrial waterfront and areas above it with a thick, pungent smoke that wafter over Marine Drive.

No one was injured in the blaze aboard La Rata Bastarda, a Seattle yacht that was being serviced at Platypus Marine Inc., 102 N. Cedar St.

Smoke was pouring from the center of the boat when crews arrived at the yard of the yacht repairer and steel-boat manufacturer at about 1 p.m.

Flames were visible from the cabin at the starboard bow.

Port Angeles Fire Chief Ken Dubuc said the fire started in the engine room, in which a Platypus crew was repairing warped steel pole plating.

“My understanding is that they were welding inside,” Dubuc said.

Firefighters initially tried to attack the inside of the vessel, but the fire had spread to space between interior bulkheads and the hull's exterior, according to Dubuc.

“There was just no way we could get to the scene of the fire, so we pulled back,” he added.

“It's really hard to get to these things.”

City firefighters, who were joined by units from Clallam County Fire Districts Nos. 2, 3 and 4, knocked down the blaze from the outside the vessel.

Crews were spraying retardant foam into a vent that leads to the engine room by about 3:30 p.m.

Dubuc said the Platypus workers had a fire watch in place when the fire began and were “doing everything they could.”

He could not say whether La Rata Bastarda was a total loss.

Acrid smoke wafted up the hill from Marine Drive.

“The smell is horrible,” one blogger wrote at peninsuladailynews.com.

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 01. 2013 6:27PM
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