NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Three families have been left homeless after houseboats docked in Weehawken, New Jersey went up in flames Monday morning.
The fire broke out inside a boat around 7:30 a.m. and quickly spread to three others, sending a towering plume of dark smoke over the Hudson River, CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang reported.
Andrew Soto lives on his houseboat docked at Lincoln Harbor.
“All of a sudden, the boat got dark. The sky was just black, so we knew something was on fire. We got up immediately and – just engulfed in flames. And the wind was blowing southwest, it caught the other two boats right alongside of it,” Soto told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg.
Even in winter the marina is full, including two dozen houseboats.
“It’s difficult because its winter, it’s cold. Some of these people, this is their home. It’s not like they can go somewhere else,” Lincoln Harbor Marina Dockmaster Janer Vazquez told CBS 2’s Jiang.
Vazquez said four vessels were totaled in the fire.
North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue Chief Frank Montagne said it was a fast-moving fire.
“We had heavy smoke billowing out so it got ahead of itself very quickly with the wind, the cold temperatures,” Montagne told Sandberg.
It took crews nearly two hours to bring the fire under control the fire.
“It’s difficult to fight the fire, it’s slippery once we start applying water, it freezes up instantly. So it’s dangerous for firefighters out there, so they had to stretch hand lines all the way out there. Also the wind will spread the fire to other boats,” Montagne said.
Marina resident Dave Charles said marine companies produce electric heaters specifically for boats, but added that he was not surprised to see the flames.
“Unfortunately, many people don’t, they used regular home space heaters which more than likely probably caused this fire,” Lincoln Harbor Marina resident Dave Charles told CBS 2’s Jiang.
No one was injured in the blaze, but one man’s boat named ‘Life Is Good’ has been destroyed.
“I feel bad. It’s a $300,000 boat and it’s not easy to take it but nothing we can do,” the owner told Sandberg.
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