An early morning fire Friday destroyed the Steilacoom Marina boat house at Saltar’s Landing in Steilacoom. The 50-year-old structure, primarily used as office space and a storage area with a few small skiffs, was 25 percent engulfed in flames by the time the fire fighters arrived. An adjoining covered dock housing 10 to 12 elevated boats was spared from the fire.
The fire was called in at 4:45 a.m. by a McNeil Island corrections officer. Steilacoom Public Safety Director Bob Drozynski said he arrived 10 minutes after receiving the call. Steilacoom Fire was supported by fire departments from Lakewood, University Place, McChord, McNeil Island Corrections, Fort Lewis and DuPont, with fire boats from Anderson Island and Tacoma. The U.S. Coast Guard had two support vessels to help control the area. The Washington State Department of Ecology and Pierce County Department of Emergency Management were on the scene as additional support agencies. It took two and a-half to three hours to bring the fire under control. Mop-up activities will continue throughout the day.
“We drill to this scenario two times a year,” said Drozynski, “so everyone knew what to do when they got here. Lakewood, University Place, and DuPont fire departments did a great job protecting the homes above the fire.”
No houses were ever in danger, though Drozynski reported that fire fighters asked nearby residents to leave as a precautionary measure. Steilacoom Mayor Ron Lucas said they also knocked on doors in the surrounding neighborhood to make sure no one was having trouble with the smoke.
The Department of Ecology reported a few light ribbons of sheen that will either evaporate or be washed ashore, but no saw no heavy petroleum that needed to be mopped up. A boom was put in place to contain floating debris that could be a hazard in the area. The Puget Sound Clean Air Authority was called in to monitor the air quality. Train service was disrupted for a few hours, and then Burlington Northern opened one set of tracks farthest away from the dock. All tracks were returned to normal service by mid-afternoon.
The cause of the fire is unknown. Investigation from the Pierce County Fire Marshall’s office is on-going. Police and fire were meeting with the owner, Shirley Wang, to get more details about the marina.
For questions contact: Barbara Nelson, Dept. of Emergency Management, 253-798-2168 or 253-377-3972