Early morning boat fire in Harbour Grace

Nicholas Mercer nmercer@cbncompass.ca
Published on January 6, 2016
Members of the Harbour Grace Volunteer Fire Department attend to the remnants of the Abigail Grace after an early morning fire at Ocean Enterprises.
Photo by Nicholas Mercer/The Compass

Harbour Grace Ocean Enterprises general manager Paul Lannon was startled to receive a phone call that a boat at the wharf was engulfed in flames.

The Abigail Grace, an almost 26-metre fishing vessel owned by Quinlan Brothers, had caught on fire earlier in the morning and crews from the Harbour Grace Volunteer Fire Department were on scene.

“No. 1 is safety,” said Lannon. “No one was on board and the site was clear. It’s never a call you want to get.”

The Abigail Grace was at the dock for scheduled regular maintenance. The repairs hadn’t started.

A security guard at the facility noticed the fire when doing his regular rounds and alerted the department to the emergency around 5 a.m. Some 20 members attended the alarm.

Fire Chief Jim Barnes said his crew noticed flames as they were making their way to the site, which is a short distance from the fire station.

“When we got there we sounded a second alarm and had a crew from Carbonear on standby just in case,” he said.

The Abigail Grace was tied to the wharf, which made it easier for firefighters to attack the blaze. Initially, they used an aggressive external attack to down the flames before moving inside to further attack the fire.

Conditions were cold, but there was no wind.

“We battled the fire for close to two hours,” said Barnes. “We’re doing mop up now while we wait for the fire inspector. There are a lot of small spots and we’re making sure the we get all of the fire.”

The chief said there was extensive damage done to the vessel.

Two years ago in Harbour Grace, the Atlantic Navigator, also owned by the Quinlan Brothers, was seriously damaged by fire.