Fatal fire at Pittsburg Marina

February 13, 2009 11:44:35 AM PST
Federal and local agencies are investigating a boat fire that killed a 69-year-old man overnight, at the Pittsburg Marina.

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Contra Costa County fire investigators have arrived on the scene. They are doing their final checks to find out how this fire began. They are looking into the two boats that were heavily damaged. Once the investigation is complete, then they can remove the boats and the marina can start healing from what has been a dramatic morning.

"The boats in the marina have just exploded, we have just heard a loud explosion and we have come off our dock," said a witness.

Those are the remarks of the person who provided ABC7 with video of a boat on fire in the Pittsburg Marina.

"There is a man who lives aboard the boat and the boat just blew up," said a witness.

That elderly man died on his boat as the fire spread to the boat in the next slip and the heat started building under the marina roof.

"Ohh my good there are people who live on this dock," said a witness.

Luckily most of the boats were unoccupied and no one else was seriously hurt.

"Ohh my god - honey I don't if we should be so close," said a witness.

The man she was talking to is her husband.

"We stayed away because the flames were quite intense at the time - we didn't know any other explosions would occur," said Steve Ingram, witness.

But the couple wanted to document this for the rest of their marine community.

"We talk to each other and look out for each other and help each other in time of need and so this was quite shocking," said Ingram.

Today with flame retardant surrounding the wreckage, the harbor master is trying to keep the boat from sinking - concerned about further water contamination.

"When one side is brittle and breaks away, maybe the other side will do the same thing. I've tried to answer that problem by plugging up all the holes on that side as far as I could reach down into the water, but we will all feel a lot better once it is on dry land," said Van DePiero, Pittsburg Harbor Master.

Once these boats are removed successfully, the harbor master said there will hopefully be no pollution.

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