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Minor burns in explosive flash aboard boat at Port of Bellingham

Fishing boat explodes in Bellingham parking lot, man suffers minor injuries

A man suffered minor burns in a blast aboard a trailered fishing boat in the parking lot at the Port of Bellingham offices on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.
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A man suffered minor burns in a blast aboard a trailered fishing boat in the parking lot at the Port of Bellingham offices on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.

A man suffered minor burns Tuesday when a flammable liquid, possibly gasoline, ignited in a brief flash aboard a fishing boat on a trailer in the parking lot of the Port of Bellingham offices, 1801 Roeder Ave., near the Squalicum Harbor boat launch.

Bellingham Fire Department officials said the man was examined by firefighters, and he decided to seek medical attention on his own. Firefighters could not disclose his name because of medical privacy laws.

Other firefighters checked the boat to make sure no environmental or explosive hazards remained. The Bellingham-based boat, a 25-foot purse seiner named Top-Flite, appeared undamaged, as did a pickup truck pulling the boat’s trailer. The cause of the blast was not determined.

“There was an explosion on this vessel and somebody was burned a bit,” said Battalion Chief Andy Day. “We’ve been conservatively approaching this for our own safety.”

No material spilled outside the boat, Day said. Officials from the port, the Coast Guard and the Washington State Department of Ecology were notified.

Firefighters cordoned off the area and prepared a hose to dispense foam as other firefighters approached the boat in protective gear with air tanks. They attached a meter to a length of webbing and raised it with a pike pole over the gunwales to check for explosive vapors. They then raised a ladder and went aboard, finding only a small amount of liquid.

“There were no flammable vapors in the cabin, and only a few gallons of fluid in the bilge,” Day said.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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