A major incident has been declared at a seaside town where firefighters are working to control a blaze that’s broken out on a ‘£6 million superyacht’ and led to the closure of seafront businesses.
A spokesperson from the Fire and Rescue Service said at approximately 2.30pm on May 28 that crews were still hard at work at the scene, where the town’s seafront has been cordoned off and the beach evacuated.
The boat, an 85ft superyacht which locals from Torquay, Devon, have commented online is worth £6 million, reportedly drifted out into the harbor after a fire broke out onboard just before 12pm and the ropes securing it to the pier burnt through.
There have been no reported injuries as a result of the fire, The Mirror reports.
The statement from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said: “Crews again confirm 1 85 foot yacht well alight alongside Princess Pier which is also involved in fire, all persons are accounted for and the immediate surrounding area has been evacuated.
“85ft motorboat on fire. Fire crews called at 11.57am. Liaising with the harbourmaster,” the fire service spokesperson earlier said.
“The yacht contains approximately 8000 Liters of diesel fuel, crews are currently at work using 4 Breathing Apparatus wearers, 1 Compressed Air Foam Jet, 2 45mm Jets, 2 Light Portable Pumps,” a statement from the service said.
“Water relay is currently being carried out by an open water source as well as a street hydrant being used.”
Police also issued a statement on Saturday afternoon which said officers were called to Princess Pier in Torquay at 12.10pm, following reports of a fire on a yacht moored in the marina.
“The boat is believed to be well light and had broken from the mooring. It has now been secured by the Fire service near the pier,” the statement said.
“There have been no reported injuries at this time. Emergency services remain at the scene where the incident is ongoing.
“Due to levels of smoke and fumes we are asking residents in the area to keep their doors and windows shut at this time. Members of the public are also urged to avoid the area and beaches are being cleared by officers for public safety.”
The statement went on to list a number of road closures which had been put in place, which included: The promenade and waterfront areas, Torbay Road at the junction with Rathmore Road, Belgrave Road at the junction with Chestnut Avenue, Shedden Hill at the junction with Croft Road,
“Further details will be provided in due course,” the statement finished.
A witness to the blaze said things had escalated over the course of the afternoon.
“85ft yacht in fire. A few hours ago,” they tweeted, along with a long shot of the boat harbored by the pier, taken from a nearby shoreline.
“Things have slightly escalated since this,” they continued.
“Whole front of Torquay now closed, including all businesses”.
HM Coastguard Area Commander for South Devon & South-East Cornwall Coastline Drew Parkinson took to Twitter to urge locals to keep away from the harbour.
“We currently have Coastguards from across Devon & Cornwall assisting @DC_Police, with a full closure of Torquay Seafront,” Parkinson wrote.
“PLEASE AVOID THE AREA.”
Another eye-witness in the area said: “Massive fire near Pavilion I think on Torquay Harbourside.”
Plumes of thick black smoke can be seen pouring from the yacht.
Another eye-witness said the fire broke out around 12pm on the boat, which sat in the water alongside a pontoon in the harbour.
“There were explosions,” they said.
“Ropes burnt through and it drifted into pier.
“Firemen took trolleys and pumps along pontoons but water not reaching.
“Some people are trapped on the other end of the pier and can’t get back. Firemen are running along the pier. Still huge flames.”
According to roads traffic and monitoring service, Inrix, the incident had caused traffic blocks in both directions along Torbay Road.
“A379 Torbay Road in both directions blocked,” the service said..
“Queuing traffic due to fire services activity from Torquay Harbor to Vaughan Road.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.