QUINCY — Wilma Ruginski and her boyfriend were aboard her boat, The Jera, berthed at Captain’s Cove Marina on Thursday when they heard a woman screaming and crying.
The couple looked outside to find the woman pulling a cart up the platform as flames shot out from the boat behind her.
“Once it started it went really, really fast,” she said. “So, so fast.”
Ruginski said her boyfriend grabbed a hose and started spraying the nearby boats to keep them from catching on fire and were soon joined by Quincy firefighters and fireboats from several area departments, including the Marine Unit from the Boston Fire Department.
No one was injured, but the two-alarm fire consumed or heavily damaged at least eight boats at the marina off Route 3A around 7:30 a.m. Thursday.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but officials say it does not appear suspicious.
Amid the acrid smell of smoke, Justin Lowery and Tamara Silvia, said they were onboard their boat preparing the morning coffee when a man from another boat stopped and told them to get out because his boat was on fire.
Lowery offered the man his fire extinguisher, but the flames were moving fast. Within 10 minutes, they said, their own boat was ablaze.
“We lost everything,” Silvia said, crying.
Lowery and Silvia just moved onto their boat in August, she said, and had not even had time to put the name on the side.
“We just sold everything to do this,” she said.
The man who owns the boat where the fire originated said he did not want to talk.
The first call for the fire came in around 7:24 a.m., Quincy police Lieutenant Jack Sullivan said.
There were people at the dock prepping a boat for winter storage when flames broke out, Sullivan said.
Quincy Deputy Fire Chief Gary Smyth said the fire started on one boat, but because of the wind and the large volume of gasoline stored on several of the boats, it spread quickly, engulfing even the dock.
Four of the burning boats sank, and Smyth said the damaged vessels ranged in size from 18 feet to 30 feet or more.
Because the wooden pier itself was burning, firefighters had to keep their distance and rely on fire-suppression efforts by fireboats from Massport, Beverly, and Cambridge. The Boston Fire Department’s Marine Unit sprayed fire-suppression foam on the blaze, he said.
Firefighters worked fast with knives, Smyth said, to cut as many boats free as they could. The Quincy Police Department’s boat was deployed to tow several of them away from the burning boats, officials said.
The Coast Guard was called in to assess potential environmental issues. Salvage crews worked to pull the sunken boats from the water, Smyth said shortly before noon Thursday.