Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 11:12 AM on Friday, March 18, 2011

Kachemak Drive boat shop catches on fire; no one injured



Photo by Michael Armstrong

Firefighters work to put out a major fire at a boat shop in the Northern Enterprises Boat Yard on Kachemak Drive.

An ugly black haze reeking of burnt fiberglass hung over Kachemak Drive Friday morning as two companies of firefighters worked to put out a fire at a boat shop in the Northern Enterprises Boat Yard, at the east end of the bay side road. No one was injured in the fire or response.

One boat was saved and four boats still in the large steel building are probably destroyed or heavily damaged. No boats outside the shop and in the yard were damaged. As of 9:30 a.m. the fire had been contained to the shop.

Homer Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bob Painter asked people to stay out of the boat yard and keep the entrance clear. Crews have set up portable tanks, and tankers and water trucks need clear access to the scene to keep water flowing to hoses. Because of runoff from fighting the fire, the boat yard is slick with water on top of ice and snow.

Kachemak Drive and East End Road are open, but people should proceed cautiously in the East End Road area and yield to fire trucks and tankers.

Freddy Martushev, a Homer boat builder who lives at the far end of East End Road, said he heard of the fire about 6:30 a.m. Painter said the fire was paged out about the same time.

"One of my shops are burning," Martushev said of the call that came in from a friend.

Martushev made it to his shop in time to pull out of the fire one boat under construction, the Super B., fortunately on a trailer. Smoke smeared the bright yellow fiberglass boat, but it was otherwise undamaged.

The fire burned at the north end of the boat shop, with a roof partially collapsed. Sixteen units from HVFD and Kachemak Emergency Services were on the scene, including ambulances and utility trucks. About 25 firefighters, emergency medical technicians and other crew responded from both departments.

"We'll be here for as long as it takes to mop up," Painter said.

Because of the large amount of water needed to put out the fire, water in the East End Road area from East Hill to Kachemak Drive may be affected. Users may see cloudiness in the water, but it is safe to drink, Public Works Superintendent Jan Jonker said in a press release. Once the fire is out, Public Works crews will flush out the affected parts of the system.

"We appreciate your understanding and cooperation and apologize for any inconvenience that this incident may cause," Jonker said.

People who have cloudy water can call 235-3170 to report it.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.