Fishing boat a total loss after fire

Published on Thu, Nov 1, 2001 by Jack Kintner

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Fishing boat a total loss after fire

By Jack Kintner

The 58 foot seiner Delta Dawn burned at the dock in Blaine Harbor early Monday morning, and has been declared a total loss. The twenty-year-old hull, built in Seattle’s Delta Shipyard, was insured for $800,000.
“We don’t know what started it, but it was probably some kind of electrical problem since there was more heat than flame. All the bridge instruments melted, but paper towels six feet away were untouched,” said skipper and owner Holy Hanson, 61, of Blaine. The fire was discovered at 3:49 a.m. by senior officer Doug Balmer, 55, of the Blaine police department while patrolling Marine Drive. Minutes later a 911 call was received from an unidentified civilian.

Balmer’s timely action prevented what might have become a major waterfront fire as the Delta Dawn carried 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel at the time. Tanks remained intact as units from North Whatcom Fire & Rescue Services and fire districts 7 (Ferndale) and 2 (Sudden Valley) brought the blaze under control a little more than an hour after it was reported. The fuel will be off-loaded by an environmental clean-up company, according to the police report.

Balmer received an internal police department commendation for his quick action.

Denny Dohner’s Destiny was moored alongside Hanson’s boat and, due to some unfinished mechanical work, wouldn’t start. Once he was able to move out of the way with the help of Wayne McGee’s Milo he returned to the fire and helped guide firefighters.

As the 50th boat constructed by the Delta Shipyard, Delta Dawn had a special golden color molded into its fiberglass hull. Company representatives said it would cost over $1.2 million to replace the historical vessel.

Hanson plans to lease a similar boat, Bob Glenovich’s St. Zita of Bellingham, for the offshore crab fishery that begins December 1. “We were lucky,” he said. “We’d gotten all the salmon gear off and hadn’t yet loaded the crab gear. Besides Balmer, thanks to the firefighters and to Denny Dohner for not letting this get out of hand.”

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