San Diego

City Investigating Response to Boat Fire That Lasted Days in Seaport Village

It's been two years since a fishing ship caught fire and burned for days along Seaport Village. Now, the city of San Diego is trying to figure out what could have been done differently in battling the flames.

A fire ripped through the 120-foot-long Norton Sound ship docked along downtown San Diego’s waterfront sending a cloud of thick, black smoke billowing over the harbor for over two days in 2017.

A fire ripped through a 120-foot-long fishing ship at the San Diego Harbor Friday, sending thick smoke into the air. NBC 7's Liberty Zabala reports.

“It was extraordinarily smoky, it started out light, then all of a sudden it was tons of smoke pouring across,” said Michelle Alcantar, manager at Ben and Jerry’s in Sea Port Village.

The thick black smoke caused bad air quality forcing some businesses to close.

"The safety of our staff was most important to us not having them breathe in something that was going to make them sick,” said Alcantar.

A San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesperson said there's a chance the agencies who responded didn't have enough resources or training.

At the time, crews were faced with several challenges. They didn't know what was burning inside the ship and it became too hot and dangerous for crews to get on board, so they sprayed the boat from other emergency vessels.

Fire crews also had to make sure the boat didn't sink, if it did, it could have caused a serious environmental issue.

The city hired consultant Citygate Associates to help determine what could have been done differently.

"I’m surprised they waited two years to do it, but you know it's a good thing they're doing it. Evaluating safe procedures for everybody and having action plan is probably a good thing," said Alcantar.

No one was injured in the fire.

The study is expected to be complete by this fall.

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