Fire at Ferndale boat factory ruled an industrial accident

A huge fire last week at a Ferndale boat factory has been ruled an accident, caused by chemicals used to build small parts for boats, police said Friday, Sept. 19.

Experts with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives pinpointed the origin of the fire at Northwest Marine to one room, toward the middle of the north side of the large, one-story warehouse at 5375 Labounty Drive. The room, where workers made small parts for the company’s sport boats, housed sprayers, tools — and small containers of volatile chemicals that reacted Thursday evening, Sept. 11, said Ferndale Police Lt. Matt Huffman.

A full report, on how and why the chemicals sparked the industrial fire, isn’t expected for months. Some highly explosive chemicals, like acetone and methyl ethyl ketone peroxide, were used in the boat-building process. There was no evidence of an electrically sparked fire, Huffman said.

Everything in the warehouse burned. Police didn’t have an exact damage estimate Friday, but the loss is believed to be in the millions of dollars. The building alone had an assessed value of $687,000.

All of Northwest Marine’s workers had gone home about three hours before the fire broke out. No one was hurt.

The business had been building about three boats per month before the fire.