The Stratford Fire Department is crediting the manager of a Shelton marina with rescuing the man on board a boat that caught fire on the Housatonic River near the Sikorsky Aircraft Property.
Video from the fire department shows smoke billowing from the boat engulfed in flames as firefighters on their own boats worked to get the fire under control.
“Call came in just around noon time for a boat fire in the river behind Sikorsky,” Stratford Fire Deputy Chief Brian Lampart said. “It’s reported that the mechanic was taking the boat for a test drive and he described it as an explosion from one of the engines.”
That mechanic has been identified as an employee of the Beacon Point Marina in Shelton. The manager of the marina jumped into action on another vessel and was able to safely remove the operator from the burning boat, fire officials said.
“When times of the essence, when we are en route and you can make an effective rescue, it helps the outcome, which is a positive outcome for this mechanic or this gentleman who was on the boat,” Stratford Fire Captain Jermaine Atkinson said.
An emergency response unit from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) came out to make sure the fuel is handled properly. The fire has consumed most of the 200 gallons of gasoline on board.
“What makes it difficult is that boat is now on a sandbar and we can’t really reach it,” Lampart said.
A Sikorsky employee sent in photos to NBC Connecticut showing the black smoke billowing above the river.
A salvage company is waiting until Wednesday morning to tow the burned out boat back to the Shelton marina because of the late afternoon low tide, fire officials said.
Firefighters from Shelton, Milford and Sikorsky’s own fire department also responded to the boat fire.
There were no injuries.