WIND-WHIPPED BLAZE DESTROYS THREE BOATS

September 20, 2000 12:00 am

Three Brookings residents lost their boats in a fire early Tuesday morning at the Port of Brookings Harbor.

The Dutchman, a 21-foot pleasure craft owned by Frank Rollins, the Oh My, a 24-foot pleasure craft owned by Lee Stewart, and the Sea Hag, a 29-foot pleasure craft owned by Lester Hauan, went up in flames just after midnight.

Two people in lawn chairs above the commercial boat basin. saw a spark and notified the United States Coast Guard. The Harbor Fire Department was toned out and found the three boats engulfed in flames.

The ports electrical system automatically shut off power to the boats, said Port Manager Russ Crabtree.

The Coast Guard launched a 47-foot motor life boat and sprayed the boats with water from a portable pump while the Harbor Fire Department set up its equipment.

The fires were quickly extinguished, but the boats were a total loss, Crabtree said.

The Sea Hag was the only boat that had insurance. Hauan estimated the cost of his boat at $7,500. Stewart estimated the cost of replacing the Oh My at $15,000. Donna Rollins estimated the Dutchmans cost at $10,000.

The port also suffered approximately $10,000 in damage, Crabtree said.

Pilings, electrical panel boxes, whalers and concrete floats were damaged, he said.

The port is insured through the Special District Association of Oregon.

The Marine Safety Officer in Portland was contacted because gasoline from the boats leaked into the water. The officer advised the port to allow the gas to dissipate in the water.

The boats were taken to the haul out yard Tuesday afternoon. Crabtree said he filed a report with the Curry County Sheriffs Department after he discovered that someone cut the shore power cords before the boats were moved.

Still, Crabtree said he thinks this was an accident.

We just have to identify the cause, he said.

State Fire Marshall Keith Brown was inspecting the boats Tuesday afternoon in an effort to determine the cause of the fires.

No one was injured in the fire, but Kathy Hutchinson, 47, a Harbor firefighter, inhaled carbon monoxide while fighting the fire. She was treated and released at Sutter Coast Hospital.