At approximately 7:55 p.m. local time Wednesday, the 30-foot commercial fishing vessel Fireman, with one adult onboard, exploded in the Valdez Small Boat Harbor adjacent the Best Western Hotel. The individual on board, who walked off after the explosion, was transported via ambulance to Providence Hospital.
The Valdez Fire Department, Valdez Police Department, and Coast Guard immediately responded to the scene and found the Fireman afloat with the majority of its wheelhouse torn apart by the explosion.
Coast Guard Station Valdez launched a fast response boat to assist with traffic management and scene safety, and Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Valdez personnel deployed to the scene to investigate the cause. The Valdez Fire Department has jurisdiction for marine firefighting within the small boat harbor and maintained a boundary around the vessel and the dock to ensure the safety of people nearby.
At approximately 8:30 p.m. local time, the Valdez Fire Department deemed the area safe and Coast Guard personnel were able to board the vessel to begin pollution investigation. The Valdez Harbormaster’s Office, Valdez Fire Department, and Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Valdez will continue to work together to determine the safest course of action for removing the Fireman from the harbor.
The cause of the incident remains under investigation.
Caption: Valdez Fire Department personnel conduct an inspection of the fishing vessel Fireman after an explosion occurred on board in the Valdez.(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst)