August 2, 2011
The state Department of Ecology is responding to a gasoline spill at the site of a boat fire at the Newport Shores Marina on Lake Washington in Bellevue.
The Bellevue and Mercer Island fire departments responded to extinguish the fire and the Mercer Island Police were on scene as well. Ecology responders and investigators are at the site to manage a cleanup.
The incident was reported to Ecology at about 11 p.m. on Monday, August 1, 2011. Two explosions were reported before the vessel caught fire. The owner of the 42-foot long boat reportedly pushed the boat away from the marina and it burned to the water line.
Responders in a Mercer Island fire boat could see small drops of gasoline coming up from the boat. The owner told investigators that 50 gallons of gasoline was on board.
The owner of the boat was injured at the scene and was taken to a local hospital for treatment. The owner has hired Global Diving, a private spill cleanup contractor, to plug, patch and secure the vessel until a salvage plan can be established.
This morning, divers inspected the sunken boat. The boat’s fuel tanks and engine burned out, and it appears that no fuel and oil remain on board. The owner reported 50 gallons of gasoline on board. Plans for salvage – raising and removing the boat – are pending at this time. Ecology appreciates the owner’s prompt action to hire a salvage firm to make the dive and plan to recover the boat.
During the fire, the vessel was moved away from its moorage. This likely saved other vessels from burning and prevented greater environmental risks. Ecology coordinated with the Bellevue and Mercer Island fire departments, and kept in contact with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), our federal spill response partner.
Ecology and EPA will continue to monitor the salvage process to ensure protection of the lake from any residual materials that could be released during operations to recover the sunken vessel.