Upon arrival, the first-in engine company saw smoke coming from the ship. After forcing their way inside by breaking a sliding glass door, they were confronted with an engine room in flames and completely full of dark smoke. Firefighters used the dock standpipe to supply water for suppression efforts, which were hampered by difficulty of working in the cramped engine room as well as poor visibility from the smoke. After ventilating the engine room and knocking down the fire, firefighters then spent a significant amount of time putting out spot fires which had spread throughout small spaces and pockets inside and surrounding the engine room.
Fortunately, the firefighters were able to put out the fire before the hull of the ship was damaged. No fuel leaked into the lake and the dock was not damaged.
At least 50 firefighters from Kirkland, Bellevue, and Redmond responded to the call. In addition, the King County Sheriff’s Marine Unit, the Seattle Police Department Fire Boat, and a unit from the U.S. Coast Guard responded. As a precautionary measure, a representative of the Washington State Department of Ecology Spill Response Section also responded.
The fire was called in at approximately 6:50 a.m. on Saturday morning by a caller from a nearby condominium, who reported smoke coming from the Argosy. Multiple reporting calls then started to come in. Engine companies arrived approximately 4 minutes after the initial call, but it took over 30 minutes to bring the fire under control due to the difficult nature of its location on the ship.
The MV Kirkland is docked at the Kirkland City Dock at Marina Park. It is a 1924 ferryboat which was refurbished by Argosy in 1996, and is used for tours of Lake Washington, wedding receptions, and similar functions. The ship is approximately 108 feet long and 40 feet wide.
Initial estimates on cost of repair are in excess of $60,000. That estimate may be revised once further inspection of the engine room is feasible.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.