Fire breaks out off Oahu on grounded boat

HONOLULU (AP) — Plans to remove a grounded fishing boat off Oahu’s Waikiki beach were disrupted after a fire broke out on board.

A salvage company was preparing to tow the vessel during high tide Saturday afternoon when the boat caught fire, Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Sara Muir said.

The boat, known as Pacific Paradise, is grounded less than 400 yards (366 meters) off Kaimana Beach, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .

Firefighters used a helicopter to dump water on the vessel, helping to reduce the flames, but the boat continued to smolder for hours afterward.

A Coast Guard official said all seven people from the salvage company working on the vessel were able to escape without injury.

The cause of the fire remains undetermined, Muir said.

The fire started under the deck, and the stability of the deck was unknown, Muir said. The 79-foot (24-meter) boat had two diesel tanks under the deck, attached to opposite sides of the hull. There was 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel still on board before the fire, Muir said. Some was released into the ocean after the blaze, but it was unclear how much.

The fire damaged the tow lines, and the salvage company was reassessing how to remove the vessel, Muir said.

The company tried to tow the boat Friday during high tide, but the tow lines snapped. The company reattached the lines and were able to tow the vessel about 50 yards before the tide went out.