Two Wilmington Fire Department crews responded to a yacht fire on Airlie Road shortly after 9 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 19.
Battalion Chief David Hines, WFD public information officer, said an inspector later determined it was an accidental fire, electrical in nature.
The call came in at 9:02 a.m. with the first crew arriving at 9:05 a.m.
Hines said nobody was occupying the about 50-foot yacht, docked at Airlie Marina near the Fish House Grill at 1410 Airlie Road, when it caught fire.
Owners Terry and Gail Wells have owned the Rameseas for about nine months, Gail Wells said. The boat name is a play on the name Rameses, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels athletic teams’ ram mascot.
“We got a phone call probably within just a few minutes after it started,” Wells said. “… We’re very thankful to the fire department, because they definitely saved it.”
She said they hope to repair the damage and have the boat back out on the water for fishing. Most of the fire damage was toward the back of the boat, but there is also smoke damage throughout the vessel.
“We just appreciate everybody’s quick calls to 911 and the fact that the firemen were very efficient at doing their jobs,” Wells said.
Hines said the three-minute response time is unusual, explaining the fire station No. 9 Landfall crew was traveling west over the Heide Trask Drawbridge and saw the fire before responding. A crew from fire station No. 10 at Seagate responded shortly after.
“They did have heavy fire showing,” Hines said, adding the two crews were able to quickly knock down the fire.
All crews left the scene at 11:23 a.m.
The yacht was valued at an estimated $400,000, with an estimated $150,000 worth of damage. Hines said no damage was done to other boats or the dock.
While they have not received a complete report detailing the cause of the fire, Wells said they believe it started from the shore plugs where power is connected to the boat from the dock. She said she is thankful the Rameseas was the only boat damaged during the fire.
“There’s always a silver lining,” she said.