A boat caught fire Saturday afternoon, August 25, at approximately 3 PM in Peconic River waters between Shelter Island’s Crescent Beach and the North Fork’s Conkling Point.
The Shelter Island Fire Department and Bay Constable Albert Labrozzi responded to the scene, along with the Coast Guard and Southold first responders.
Labrozzi said he was patrolling the area less than an eighth of a mile from the vessel when the fire began.
“I was scanning the area as usual and saw a female go over the side of the boat. It caught my attention and then I saw smoke and heat emanating from the boat,” Labrozzi said.
The bay constable helped the woman out of the water as the fire “progressed quickly.” The fire department was dispatched to the scene and put out the flames by pumping water from Marine 10, the department’s fire rescue boat.
“The operator instructed the woman to jump into the water and he attempted to use his fire extinguisher, but it was too late, the boat went quickly,” Labrozzi said. “While the fire department put out the fire, I maintained safety in the area as a lot of other people went by.”
According to Labrozzi, the woman aboard said the duo first smelled gasoline, which was followed by a small explosion and then flames. He said once the fire was out, responders tried to look at the hull to determine where the fire began, but the effort was fruitless.
“It was virtually impossible to determine where the fire started. There was nothing left,” Labrozzi said.
One of the people on board was transported to Eastern Long Island Hospital by Shelter Island Emergency Medical Services and treated for minor injuries. The pair were the owners of the vessel.
“They asked us for assistance, but had the fire out by the time we got there,” said a first responder from Southold.
Once the flames were extinguished, the charred vessel was towed to Albertson Marine in Southold. It was then removed from the water to be examined and to prevent any water pollution.