UPDATE | Boat fire leads to disruption in ferry service
March 23, 2011 · Updated 1:19 PM
A boat fire shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday led to the diversion of the Clinton ferry.
"I just glanced up from my desk and all of a sudden I saw flames and the ferry heading toward it," said Elliott Menashe, who lives near Zimmerman Road, north of Randall Point. "I looked up and just couldn't believe it."
Menashe said the boat was fully engulfed in flames, and there were seven small craft around the burning vessel. The burning boat was perhaps two miles northeast of the Clinton Ferry Terminal, and Menashe said he could see the Clinton ferry approaching the vessel.
At the height of the fire, the flames were as high as two-thirds the height of the ferry.
He said the boat looked like it was burning down to the water line.
At about 10:40 a.m., it appeared the Clinton ferry was turning back toward Mukilteo.
Marta Coursey, spokeswoman for Washington State Ferries, said on the WSF blog that ferry Capt. Edward Jenssen diverted the ferry M/V Kittitas to the burning vessel after the U.S. Coast Guard called for assistance. The burning boat was near Hat Island, and the Kittitas used about 20 gallons of fire suppression material to put out the fire.
There were eight vehicles, two motorcycles, and 20 passengers aboard the ferry when it was diverted, she said.
Coursey said the Kittitas missed one round-trip sailing.