Fire heavily damaged a 32-foot boat docked Wednesday in the harbor at Monterey, Calif., threatening others nearby and providing a water show for people who were visiting the city for Monterey Car Week.
Witnesses told TV station KSBW that two people had been working on the boat’s engine. Investigators said the fire was an accident.
“The gentleman was working on his boat and there was water and a battery that he was lifting out of the bilge area and it caused an arc that caused the fumes to catch on fire,” Monterey Fire Division Chief Jim Brown told KSBW.
The owner was able to jump out of the boat.
Witness Michael Coleman was detailing a boat nearby when he saw the fire ignite.
“I heard the pop, turned around, poof, smoke, flames. I’m like, this is going to be bad cause fiberglass boats, they just melt,” Coleman said. “I could feel the heat across the channel like a big bonfire.”
Firefighters ran hose lines from the wharf down into the harbor and along the wooden walkways.
“There was another boat neighboring with 1,500 gallons of diesel on board, with flames licking its cabin. A couple of guys untied it and it drifted right over here,” Coleman said.
The boat was towed across the harbor to Monterey Bay Boatworks, The owner, who had minor burns, was taken to a hospital.