VIDEO: 2 boats burn, 2 others damaged, at marina in West Seattle


(Photo courtesy Jim)
8:43 PM: A big Seattle Fire response is on the way to the 1300 block of SW Spokane [map], where a boat is reported to be on fire at an address that crossreferences to Jim Clark Marina. More to come.

8:57 PM: Avoid the area – SFD has even asked for the railroad track to be closed by BNSF.

(This photo and those below are by WSB’s Christopher Boffoli, added 10:28 pm)
They’ve had to lay hundreds of feet of hose to get to the burning boat(s), according to scanner traffic.

9:04 PM: The fire is reported to be under control. No word of any injuries. Our archives show it’s been five years since the last major fire at this marina.

9:18 PM: Media crews at the scene, including ours, are being kept behind a safety line; via the scanner, we’re hearing fire crews dealing with dock-safety issues too, and also a “small” flareup on the boat, which, a marina tenant told our photographer, is a 32-footer. We’re told Seattle Fire’s public-information officer is on the way.

9:36 PM: Two vessels are reported (monitored via scanner) to be “a complete loss.”

9:44 PM: The loss of two boats has just been confirmed at the scene by SFD, in a media briefing. (video added, with SFD spokesperson Corey Orvold)

(WSB video by Patrick Sand)
A third boat was damaged. Investigators are on the way to find out how the fire started; the Coast Guard and EPA also are en route to check on whether there’s been a fuel spill or any other environmental effects.

The dock will remain closed tonight, so other boat owners thinking of coming down to check on their boats won’t be able to reach them.

10:21 PM: SFD has just tweeted that the two boats that burned have sunk and that two others were damaged.

ADDED EARLY WEDNESDAY: More views of the fire and how it was fought, on the Duwamish and on the shore. The two photos below are by Aaron Bocchetti, the video by Michelle Edwards.

No announcement yet of how it started.

WEDNESDAY NOON UPDATE: SFD’s Orvold tells us there’s still no word on the cause: “The fire investigators are working with the marina‚Äôs owner to bring the boats to the surface so they can further their investigation. This process could take a while.” We were at the marina around 10:30 am and noticed a USCG helicopter circling to inspect the scene from above.

Some damage to the boathouse is visible. See this comment below for more information on one of the damaged boats.

13 Replies to "VIDEO: 2 boats burn, 2 others damaged, at marina in West Seattle"

  • Joe Szilagyi December 29, 2015 (10:15 pm)

    “SFD has even asked for the railroad track to be closed by BNSF.”
    Does this mean that local emergency services can only ask BNSF nicely, or can they (I would hope) simply close the tracks if needed in the case of a legitimate emergency?

    • WSB December 29, 2015 (10:23 pm)

      Don’t know. But certainly it has to start with a request, as I doubt BNSF’s controllers are anywhere in the area that they automatically would have known about the fire.

  • Diane December 29, 2015 (10:33 pm)

    I didn’t even know we had a boat marina in WS

    • WSB December 29, 2015 (10:38 pm)

      D – They’re mostly out of sight – unless you’re in a passenger/bus seat on the outside eastbound lane of the high bridge, looking down – this photo is looking north from south of the marinas, Jim Clark Marina (where this fire and the one five years ago happened) is on the left with the covered slips, Harbor Island Marina is on the right, and that’s of course the bridge to the north of them.

  • Joseph December 29, 2015 (10:34 pm)

    Same boathouse as the last fire at that marina….

  • Neal Chism December 30, 2015 (8:19 am)


    The railroad bridge has a “bridgemaster”, (as does the lower swing bridge). This person is there many hours of the day and is on call. And usually the bridge is left in the open position (up) unless there is railroad traffic. So the fire dept. would only be concerned/delayed if the rail bridge was down and a train was actively moving on it.

    • WSB December 30, 2015 (8:34 am)

      Thanks – however the process worked, the discussion heard on emergency radio (either police or fire) early on was something along the lines of, ask for the railroad line/track to be shut down. I mentioned it just as a datapoint regarding the size of the response and the severity of the situation. – TR

  • cjboffoli December 30, 2015 (9:19 am)

    The railroad bridge over the Duwamish that conveys the track on which the SFD held their media briefing (due to the view that particular location afforded of the scene) is but one of three railroad tracks that went through the middle of the scene last night. SFD equipment and personnel were spread out in close proximity to the tracks so it is easy to see why the request was made to temporarily close them.

  • wetone December 30, 2015 (10:02 am)

    If railroad bridge is down it limits water access to area as there is not enough clearance for marine traffic to pass under. In this case blocking any emergency help from water such as fire boats, police boats or salvage. Railroad bridge was lowered and fire department moved trucks around 11:15pm so rail traffic could pass through area. Also want to thank Fire Department on getting fire out quickly.

  • Beachboy December 30, 2015 (10:03 am)

    Ironically, the fire appears to have been in the boathouse that JCM had made to replace the 3 boathouses wrecked in the 2010 fire.

    2 major fires in 5 years. That’s a bad break.

  • dsa December 30, 2015 (10:06 am)

    Great report, thank you.

  • Mike December 30, 2015 (10:39 pm)

    There are actually several marinas along the shores of West Seattle/Duwamish River. West Seattle even has a yacht club!

  • Marina members December 31, 2015 (4:20 pm)

    So grateful that everyone is safe, we have our boat moored at this Marina and love the low key community we all support together. Sorry for everyone’s material/memory loss.

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