It is truly amazing how on any given day, an emergency that threatens life, limb, and property can happen. After work on Thursday, May 4, I drove to the marina in my neighborhood to attend our monthly membership meeting. As I drove toward the club house, the road was blocked with numerous Fairfax County firetrucks, equipment, and firefighters. I quickly learned that one of the boats in the marina, with about 300 gallons of gas onboard, had caught fire while its owner was performing repairs. Miraculously, the owner of the boat escaped with minor injuries while the flames grew in size, engulfing the rear half of the boat in fire. While the boat was destroyed, and the fire did significant damage to a 50 year old boat docked next to it, the outcome could have been far worse if not for the exceptional response from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, as well as the collaborative efforts of other emergency teams.
I was amazed by the number and types of trucks, equipment and personnel from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, including specialized teams like the HazMat team, the Fire Boat, and a Swift Response/Rescue Team positioned on the dock with scuba gear in the event that a firefighter, wearing heavy gear, slipped off the dock and into the water. These brave responders, along with assistance from D.C. Fire and Rescue, Fairfax County Police, EMT units, and fireboats from Alexandria City Fire and D.C. Fire swiftly took control of the situation, their training obvious to all observers. As the firefighters quickly realized that the fire was gasoline fed, and couldn’t be extinguished with water, foam was needed and quickly brought to the scene. In planned and coordinated fashion, and these professionals quickly controlled the fire, protecting the more than 100 other gas powered boats in the marina, and avoided a catastrophe.
As a witness to this incident, I want to express my profound gratitude for the prompt, professional, and overwhelming response of the first responders and subsequent environmental clean-up crew. Their quick action and skills were crucial in minimizing injuries and limiting the extent of damage. No doubt that without their heroic intervention, the outcome would have been far more devastating.
In the aftermath of the incident, the burned boat had to be salvaged and removed from the marina. The combined efforts of Potomac Towing, Fairfax Hazmat Team, and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) were instrumental in this process. While the salvage operation posed environmental concerns, recovery teams diligently placed absorbent booms to contain potential contaminants, ensuring the protection of Dogue Creek and the Potomac River. The collaborative response continued with the marina remaining closed to all boat traffic until DEQ conducted a thorough inspection, guaranteeing the safety and integrity of the waterway.
It is in moments like these that we truly understand the importance of having skilled and dedicated first responders in our community. We commend their exceptional service and extend our heartfelt appreciation for their selfless commitment to the safety and well-being of our community.
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