Fire Officials: Cause of Fishing Boat Fire Undetermined, Possibly Electrical

Fire officials trying to determine the cause of a fishing boat fire earlier this month said their investigation was inconclusive but pointed toward an electrical malfunction.

Investigators who sifted through the remains of a local fishing boat that burned while moored off of earlier this month were unable to definitively determine what caused it to ignite - but said they believe the blaze may have been the result of an electrical malfunction.

According to Fire Chief Jason Gilliland, investigators looking into the cause of an Aug. 2 boat fire completed an interview with the vessel's owner last Thursday.

"The boat's owner was able to provide us with a lot of good information. He knew his boat very well," Gilliland said. "It was very difficult to determine because it was a boat fire but we’ve ruled that this was an undetermined possible electric."

Gilliland said a ground wire discovered during a thorough search of the boat led investigators to suspect that the fire may have been the result of the expanding or contracting of aluminum wiring. He stressed, however, that investigators weren't able to say for sure if that was what happened.

It was just before 1 a.m. when local dispatchers received multiple reports of a off of Front Street. Soon after, local firefighters enlisted the help of the Beverly Fire Department's new fire boat to extinguish the blaze.

The incident was Beverly's first opportunity to use their new fire boat, which arrived shortly after 1:30 a.m. and extinguished the fire in about 15 minutes.

According to a police log issued the following morning, the boat was a white and blue 1991 Terry Jason fishing vessel. Members of the Gloucester Police Department were reportedly sent to the owner's home to inform him that the boat had burned.

Gilliland, who watched the boat burn from a vantage point on Front Street, said Beverly firefighters "did an excellent job of knocking (the fire) down."


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