Massachusetts Boat Yard Blaze Causes Millions in Damage

August 10, 2009

A three-alarm blaze destroyed a vacant Massachusetts boat yard and caused several million dollars in damage, fire officials said Friday.

The fire damaged Melanson’s boat marina and bait shop, three boats and several vehicles inside the building, State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan said. An adjacent home and several classic cars were also damaged in the fire. No one was injured.

The fire broke out late Friday morning in Ipswich, a coastal town of about 12,000 residents about 30 miles north of Boston.

Television video showed flames leaping into the air and plumes of black smoke billowing from the building, just before it collapsed into the Ipswich River, but the flames had been doused by about noon.

Ipswich Selectman Raymond Morley said the wood-frame building once housed a lobster boat building business, but it closed years ago. The owners used to convert car engines into motors for the boats, and Morley said he thinks there were still many auto parts in the building.

Morley said he did not believe anyone was in the building. He said the residents of the damaged house next door are on vacation but have been informed of the fire.

State Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Joe Ferson said the fire left an oil sheen on the river, and authorities were using a boom to contain it.

The state fire marshal and Ipswich Fire department are investigating the cause of the blaze.

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