Fire damages boats in Marshfield marina
MARSHFIELD, Mass. (WHDH) -- Federal agents were called in to investigate a fire that ripped through a marina destroying three boats and damaging others.
The fires sparked the question: Could this be the work of a serial arsonist, on the loose in southern Massachusetts?
Jim McFarland finally saw in person the damage he saw developing on his television screen.
“Well the first thing I saw was a fireman on a ladder and I saw the name on my boat, so I knew there was trouble,” said McFarland.
The charter fishing boat "Big Mac" - McFarland's livelihood - was destroyed in a fire.
“I think the only thing remaining is the hull, the whole cabin, everything is gone,” said McFarland.
The Marshfield Fire Department responded to Taylor Marina just after midnight after receiving a number of 911 calls. They arrived to smoke and heavy flames.
“I guess the flames were up three quarters of the way on the sailboat mast, it was really burning pretty good,” said Ralph Pratt.
Crews knocked down the fire in about 40 minutes.
Three 40-foot boats were destroyed, and 4 others were damaged.
“They’re out of it, you know, they're hard to replace. That coupled with the way fishing’s been in New England lately, it's totally disastrous,” said Pratt.
Local crews along with the state fire marshal's office and ATF agents were investigating the cause.
People wondered if the fires were related to a string of nearly 19 arsons in the South Shore.
“They always store the boats like this every winter and there's never been a fire so I don't know how,” said Johanna McFarland, Jim McFarland’s daughter.
In the daylight, the damage to the boats was clear. The storage area was closed off and fire crews manage to get in and knock the fire down quickly. They were able to save some of the boats in the lot. The smoke was so intense because of wind Thursday morning that some of the people who lived in nearby homes had to be evacuated. They were allowed back in their homes by mid-morning. Fortunately no one was injured.
The fire was still under investigation.