Fires that destroyed two motor cruisers and damaged two other yachts on Hobart’s eastern shore have left a damage bill of about $700,000.
Emergency services attended the scene at the Lindisfarne Motor Yacht Club on Friday night, where the boats were moored on the River Derwent, with the police bringing their boat to assist.
When fire crews arrived, one of the boats was well alight, and the boat next to it had started to burn.
Firefighters split into two groups to battle the blazes after a third burning boat broke free from its mooring and floated towards other vessels.
The firefighters managed to stop the runaway boat from spreading the fire, and one owner was able to untie and motor his vessel away, with firefighters describing the moment as a “lucky escape”.
The police boat managed to nudge the drifting vessel back to the marina, where firefighters could safely extinguish the flames, but the damage proved too severe and it sank.
The fires from the boats gave off thick, toxic black smoke, and firefighters on the marina had to wear life jackets and breathing apparatus.
Floating booms have been placed in the water to contain debris, and any leaking fuel from the vessels, and the Tasmanian Fire Service (TFS) is conducting an investigation this morning.
The TFS estimates the fires to have caused approximately $700,000 worth of damage.
Firefighter Andrew Emery said the TFS received multiple triple-0 calls.
“Upon arrival firefighters found two 40ft motor cruiser boats, which had been fully engulfed by fire, and two other yachts that had been damaged by fire,” he said.
“Because one of the boats was set adrift and still alight, and there was another boat that was still ablaze, two crews had to work on separate areas of the docks to contain two fires.”
Gregg Plunkett’s boat Lone Wolf was extensively damaged by fire.
“It just automatically brings tears to your eyes,” he said.
“I’m sort of semi-retired due to health reasons and that was my other passion which now I doubt that I’ll be able to afford to replace that boat where it was yesterday.”
Adam Blinton’s boat was scorched by the drifting, burning boat. He had bought it only a week ago
“Obviously it got very close to my boat, so I’m very fortunate it’s only superficial damage,” he said.
“It’s upsetting, but at least no one was hurt that’s the main thing and these people here my heart really feel for them because boats become like part of your family and they’ve very precious to everybody.”