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Fire Aboard Powerboat Threatens Petaluma Docks

Boaters tied alongside the turning basin docks on the Petaluma River were awakened by a fire aboard a neighboring boat early on Saturday morning. Latitude 38’s newest delivery drivers, Dale Land and Bob Boynton, were docked nearby, relaxing over the Veterans Day weekend, when the incident occurred.

“I heard some commotion and talking on the docks [at] about 4 a.m., heard a muffled explosion, and then looked out and saw the flames,” Bob said, and described the ensuing scene as “a little chaotic.”

According to a report in The Press Democrat, the Petaluma Fire Department was alerted at 4 a.m. and arrived to the boat that was “engulfed in flames.” They were able to put the fire out in about 30 minutes. The boat’s two occupants escaped unharmed.

Despite being in shock and visibly upset, the unnamed occupants told Dale they were from Vallejo and had come up for the weekend to visit friends who live in town. Jim Newhall, a friend of the Latitude drivers-turned-rookie-reporters, was even closer to the blaze, staying aboard his 48-ft powerboat, and snapped some photos of the burning vessel.

Petaluma fire
Firefighters were able to quickly contain the blaze and prevent damage to the dock.
© 2021 Jim Newhall
Burned out boat
The Press Democrat reported that “authorities did not believe boat fuel had spilled into the water,” and that “agents from the United States Fish and Wildlife Department and the US Coast Guard were evaluating the environmental hazards Saturday morning.”
© 2021 Dale Land
A typically picturesque Petaluma River evening preceded the calamity of the following early morning. On the right is the powerboat as she looked prior to the fire. Nearby, from right to left are Jim’s powerboat, a Westsail 32, Bob’s S&S-designed Yankee 30 SeaWitch, then Dale’s Beneteau 361 3rd Encore.
© 2021 Jim Newhall

The burned boat was docked in front of the River Front Café.

1 Comment

  1. Brad Smith 1 year ago

    Kudos for the before and after pictures, definitely time to bring back those Roving Reporter t-shirts!

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