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One rescued in boat fire off Block Island, R.I.

The Coast Guard Cutter Coho was one of several vessels that helped fight the engine fire off Block Island.US Coast Guard

One person was rescued from a burning boat that sent a thick plume of smoke over Block Island, R.I. Friday afternoon, drawing a response from the US Coast Guard and several local agencies, officials said.


The 38 foot cabin cruiser was about 1.5 miles west of the island when it sent out a distress call around noon, according to Narragansett Fire Captain Scott McLaughlin. The first vessel to respond, Block Island’s harbormaster, managed to rescue the one individual aboard the cruiser, he said.

The person was not injured.

The Coast Guard Cutter Coho arrived on the scene shortly thereafter, McLaughlin said. By that point, the blaze had apparently been extinguished, he added.

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However, the fire “reflashed,” according to a Coast Guard tweet, and the cutter began dousing the burning vessel with water.

The Coast Guard then called in the Narragansett Bay Marine Task Force around 1:15 p.m., McLaughlin said. Boats from five fire departments — Narragansett, Newport, Jamestown, Cranston, and North Kingstown — were dispatched to the scene.

When they arrived, McLaughlin said they found the boat “fully involved” in fire, he said.

“There were flames from stem to stern,” he said. “Everything below deck and everything on top was on fire.”

McLaughlin said the “thick, thick black smoke” was visible from Sand Hill Cove Beach on the mainland — almost 13 miles away.

The blaze was “under control” by around 1:45 p.m., McLaughlin said.

The vessel remained afloat by around 4 p.m. and was being towed to Point Judith, R.I., according to Coast Guard Petty Officer Briana Carter.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, McLaughlin said.



Camilo Fonseca can be reached at camilo.fonseca@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @fonseca_esq.