Fire and Rescue NSW investigators say Nelson Bay boat fire not suspicious

A fire that destroyed a boat moored near a Nelson Bay marina last Friday is not being treated as suspicious.

Investigations by Fire and Rescue NSW into the cause of the fire at the Commercial Fisherman’s Co-op, near d’Albora Marinas, are continuing, however it is believed the cause of the fire was accidental.

“At this stage the fire is not being treated as suspicious,” Inspector Kernin Lambert, a duty commander with FRNSW, said.

“It is believed that prior to the fire starting, the vessel owner was aboard the boat undertaking routine maintenance activities when an explosion and fire occurred. 

“The vessel owner was able to escape the burning boat and swim to shore. 

“He was assessed at the scene by ambulance paramedics and released.”

Emergency services were called to Teramby Road about 3.30pm on Friday, May 19 on reports of a boat fire.

Upon arrival, FRNSW firefighters from Nelson Bay found thick smoke and flames coming from a fibreglass hull fishing charter boat.

The boat had been moored to a post in the water near the breakwall. 

Water police and NSW Maritime vessels had already arrived at the scene and were attempting to fight the fire. 

A request was made for a NSW Rural Fire Service boat to attend the scene, to help with firefighting efforts.

Fire Boat Delta from the Soldiers Point RFS brigade was launched.

In the end however, the RFS boat was not needed.

Firefighters were able to reach the burning boat aboard a water police launch.   

In about an hour the boat fire had been extinguished. 

The boat was severely damaged by the fire.

It is not known if any of the vessel can be salvaged. 

As well as RFS crews from Fingal Bay and Soldiers Point, a FRNSW hazardous materials unit from Newcastle (including the Hazmat response vessel) responded to the fire. 

After the boat fire was put out, hazmat firefighters worked from the water police launch to place several layers of marine booms around the vessel, to ensure no contaminants on board escaped into the waterway.

Inspector Lambert said it was important for boat owners to be vigilant when carrying out maintenance aboard vessels, particularly when flammable liquids were present. 

“Open flammable liquid containers can release flammable vapours that can travel a long distance and, within the confined space of a boat cabin or hull, can form an explosive atmosphere, even if they are at a remote location from any ignition sources,” he said.

“We encourage boat owners to try to have work areas as well ventilated as possible, to remove any build-up of flammable vapours.”

DESTROYED: Fire and Rescue NSW firefighters on board a water police launch extinguish a fire near d'Albora Marinas, Nelson Bay, on May 19. Picture: Fire and Rescue NSW

DESTROYED: Fire and Rescue NSW firefighters on board a water police launch extinguish a fire near d'Albora Marinas, Nelson Bay, on May 19. Picture: Fire and Rescue NSW

Friday 3.30pm:

A RFS fire boat is en route to a Nelson Bay marina where a moored vessel was up in flames on Friday afternoon.

Emergency services were alerted a boat fire at d’Albora Marinas, Nelson Bay about 3pm.

Fire and Rescue NSW and RFS crews attended the scene of the marina fire, assisted by water police.

However, the vessel was not accessible to land-based crews and a RFS fire boat was called in.

Guy Baddock, the operations officer for the RFS Lower Hunter Fire Control Centre, said about 4pm that Fire Boat Delta from Soldiers Point was on its way to the scene.

“Fire and Rescue was on site with RFS but it was determined that it [vessel] was inaccessible and requested Fire Boat Delta to respond,” he said.

The fire boat is part of the Soldiers Point RFS Brigade.

A NSW Police Force media spokeswoman said officers from the marine command were on scene assisting.

A man was reportedly attended to by responding officers and firefighters.

The police spokeswoman said the man was not injured.

More to come.

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