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One injured, three boats damaged in fire in Vancouver’s False Creek

Click to play video: 'Fire crews battle back-to-back blazes in Vancouver'
Fire crews battle back-to-back blazes in Vancouver
Thursday was a very busy time for Vancouver firefighters with crews battling back-to-back blazes --one on the edge of the Downtown East side and the other on a boat moored in False Creek. Safeeya Pirani has the details. – Sep 8, 2023

Fireboats were deployed to Vancouver’s False Creek where three boats were damaged and one person was injured by fire Thursday evening.

Thick black smoke could be seen pouring for the trio of vessels moored in the waterway.
Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services said the conflagration involved two sailboats and a pleasure craft.

Click to play video: 'Fire impacts multiple vessels in Vancouver’s False Creek'
Fire impacts multiple vessels in Vancouver’s False Creek

“The main vessels on fire were basically a 40-foot sailboat and maybe a 35-foot pleasure craft,” Assistant Fire Chief Ken Gemmill told Global News.

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Two people escaped the fire, one woman from aboard a sailboat who was not injured and one man from aboard the pleasure craft who did suffer injuries. It’s unknown who owned the third, smaller boat.

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“The male had pretty severe burns. He was taken to VGH by BC Ambulance basically immediately when they arrived on scene,” Gemmill added.

While the cause of the fire remains under investigation, Gemmill said early signs pointed to the man cooking on the pleasure craft where he was potentially injured when trying to unsuccessfully extinguish the flames.

The spectacle of the blaze also raising the issue of boats anchored in False Creek, which is illegal, but a murky jurisdiction, according to Gemmill when pressed about the legality of the burning boats.

“Not everyone wants to police that, especially federally, provincially or municipal but when these things happen everyone who was living downtown is aware. It was heavy smoke. So, you know, it’s going to come to light.”

Click to play video: 'Derelict vessels to be removed from Nicomekl River'
Derelict vessels to be removed from Nicomekl River

The boats are not in danger of sinking and crews say the fires did not result in any serious environmental impact to False Creek.

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Gemmill says safety issues with the illegal boats are few and far between, only happening once every few years, but says situations like this often stir up attention on the frowned upon practice.

“It’s one of those areas around ‘whose jurisdiction is it?’ and ‘What are we going to do about it?’ So, I’m sure there’ll be some talks about that. It’ll be the buzz around the harbor for a little while,” Gemmill explained.

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