Fishing boat catches fire

Posted: Sunday, August 19, 2001

KODIAK (AP) -- A fishing boat caught fire and burned Thursday in Lazy Bay on the south end of Kodiak Island. No one was injured.

The 42-foot Helen Marie caught fire about 12:30 p.m. as it approached the Ward's Cove cannery in Alitak to deliver, according to Lieutenant Matt Jones of the Coast Guard's marine safety division.

The vessel is owned by Tom Doyle of Burlington, Wash. The fire began in the engine room. It spread quickly and melted the house down into the hull before it could be extinguished, Jones said.

The crew was able to escape safely into the seine skiff. Another boat towed the Helen Marie ashore and beached it intentionally. The crew and cannery workers removed the fuel, battery and the vessel's mast.

The Helen Marie was then towed off the beach and its spoiled catch of 15,000 pounds of pink salmon was dumped overboard.

The boat was re-beached so investigators could look at it. Jones said the cause hasn't been determined so far.

Jones praised the response of the crew and the personnel at Ward's Cove. ''The cannery and Mr. Doyle really jumped on it and did an outstanding job,'' Jones said. ''I couldn't have asked for anything more.''

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