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Five boats damaged in Wednesday morning fire at Rich Marina

Posted at 5:25 PM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 17:25:35-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Smoke could be seen in the skies above Rich Marina Wednesday morning following a boat explosion.

Maria Tirone and her husband were on their boat when they heard a loud "boom". They saw smoke coming from a boat 150 yards away from theirs and called 9-1-1 and the Coast Guard.

"I told them, you gotta get here," Tirone said. "In the time that I was talking to them, the boat actually caught fire and the fire started spreading to the boats on either side."

Four other boats were severely damaged as multiple departments reported to the scene. The boat that originally caught fire sunk and was pulled out of the water Wednesday evening.

Officials say the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but say they're starting to get a clearer picture of what led-up to the blast.

"The owner had just started his submersible pumps and he had just gone to get a garden hose," Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo said. "He was in the process of cleaning the boat. There was an explosion, he was thrown from the boat, he wasn't injured."

Fire spread to parts of the water where a layer of gasoline had formed. Despite the difficult circumstances, officials were able to prevent further damage.

"We were able to put it out fairly quickly with our foam team," Rendaldo said. "They were able to reach it, and suppress the fire."

A crowd of onlookers gathered to watch the scene unfold, many with boats of their own in the vicinity.

"I've seen pictures of this but I'd never seen it live," Tirone said. "Hopefully I never see it again."

According to Renaldo there was roughly half a million dollars in damage and to their knowledge, there were no reported injuries.