Fire destroys shrimp boat

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Two people escaped a burning shrimp boat early Friday morning.

Two men had to jump overboard when their shrimp boat caught fire while docked near the Frank W. Spencer Boat Ramp and fishing pier off of the Islands Expressway.

"There was two of them on the boat spending the night waiting for a repair crew in the morning. They smelled the smoke and immediately got off," said Southside Assistant Chief Hugh Futrell.

Firefighters had to fight the blaze from the side of the ramp as the flames and smoke filled the sky. The fire was burning right through the hull of the boat, making it difficult for Southside firefighters to get to.

"We are trying to get the parts out of the hull and if you know anything about boat construction, it's pretty intense and strong. We are trying to get some of the planking off and get the fire out that is in the crawl spaces," Futrell said.

For hours, Southside firefighters used hoses stretched to the end of docks to put water on it. The shrimp boat was called Justin Bradley. Its owner suspects the fire started from a generator running inside.

"Apparently they had a little bit of a problem yesterday with a leak in the boat and got a tow here and were spending the night until they could get repairs done. [They] had a generator and a pump running down in the hole. The generator was in the hole that was the only thing running on the boat at this point," Futrell said.

The men woke up in the nick of time.

"The smoke detector, unfortunately, was not hooked up at the time, so they were lucky they got off and very fortunate," he said.

The fire was isolated to that boat. No injuries were reported.

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