By: Ray Wu
Imagine vacationing in Long Beach. A few seconds later, a fire ignites a nearby boat. After some time, part of the boat explodes, leaving it partly submerged in water. Minutes later, firefighters arrive, and discover that 2 women are dead, while 2 men and one woman are hospitalized with burn-related injuries. Scary, right?
Unfortunately, this is a real event. The smoke from the fire and the sound of the explosion attracted attention from miles away. Firefighters quenched a large fraction of the fire, but there was still a risk of lighting other boats through the wind. Thankfully, there have been no other reported fire incidents nearby.
Jake Heflin, a Long Beach Fire Captain, claimed that the fire was extinguished about 5:17 pm, moments after the fire started. Many rescue boats with water cannons mobilized to put out the fire. Booms, which are like buoys, were placed around the wreckage to prevent anything else catching on fire. No firefighters were injured, but mental health services were provided to those who needed the support. The cause of the fire is still unknown.
Certain factors escalated the situation. The wind was strong, which carried plenty of oxygen to feed the fire. Fueling docks were also in jeopardy because sparks could light it on fire. Even worse, many boats were nearby which carried several people each, putting them at risk too.
“There was a big bang and I looked up, and there was this ginormous plume of black smoke,” says Daniel Quinn, host of Crab Pot restaurant, explaining about what happened during the explosion (LATIMES).