NE Portland marina fire displaces boat dwellers, spreads to other boats

Published online: Nov 05, 2010 News Michael Russell, The Oregonian
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A dramatic fire Thursday night drove two families from boats where they live at a Columbia River marina in the flight path of Portland International Airport. 

A boat moored at Bill Babeckos Yacht Broker, 3157 N.E. Marine Drive, caught fire about 8 p.m. The fire blew an electrical transformer, cutting off power to much of the riverside area west of Northeast 33rd Avenue. 

The fire sent up heavy smoke, and flames soon spread to four nearby boats. At least three boats were cut loose, drifting aflame downriver toward the Tyee Yacht Club. 

No injuries were immediately reported, and no cause was determined for the fire. 

Portland Fire & Rescue, Multnomah County Sheriff's Office and Portland Airport Fire & Rescue responded, sending a total of two fireboats, four fire engines and two firetrucks, said Kim Kosmas, a Portland fire spokeswoman. Also, the U.S. Coast Guard office in Portland was alerted. 

Del Stevens, who has lived at the marina for about three years, said he heard shouting, grabbed a fire extinguisher and helped fight the flames. 

"I don't know the extent of the damage," Stevens said. "They told me they'd know more tomorrow morning." 

A fire investigator allowed Stevens and others to survey the damage from the dock with a firefighter escort about 9 p.m. They were not allowed to enter their homes. 

The five watercraft burned included a water scooter, a 15-foot dinghy, and 28-foot, 34-foot and 42-foot boats, Kosmas reported late Thursday.

The American Red Cross, Oregon Trail Chapter, was prepared to assist any fire victims. However, the man and woman whose boat was most badly damaged told authorities they could stay with friends. 

John Cayne said he lived next door to the couple whose boat caught fire. He spotted flames under the walkway outside his boat and grabbed his wife, Cece Cayne, and children, Jessica, 10 and John Jr., 4. They all jumped into a dinghy to escape.
 

Read more at
http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/11/marina_fire_displaces_houseboa.html

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