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Boat fire kills two and injures three people in Long Beach

By: Kyle Xu

The panic. The fire. The sudden column of black smoke rising from a charred vessel into the sky.

Imagine you were sitting peacefully on your boat floating near a fueling dock, and suddenly you hear your companions dropping down into the water below like heavy stones. What could ever be going on? Out of nowhere, you hear a sound as if a chopper has just landed on your roof. People suddenly shriek and point at you and the boat, and you make the connection. Something is going on, and it's definitely not something good.

Dangerously bright and fast-spreading flames engulf your surroundings. “Help me!” you scream. But you are surrounded by a veil of fire and cannot be reached. Before long, the blaze closes in on you, and you are only aware of the white-hot fire scorching your skin.

That was what happened to five elderly people in Long Beach last Saturday, August 5th, 2023. Two people were killed and three were injured by a sudden fire on a 35-foot power boat in Long Beach, according to the Long Beach fire department. The sudden fire killed two women in their 60s and sent two men and one woman, also in their 60s, to the hospital, scarred with burn-related injuries.

It occurred at a fueling dock in Alamitos Bay. Firefighters responded to the call at 5:17 p.m. and drenched the blaze with water cannons, according to Fire Capt. Jake Heflin. The vessel was in the process of fueling, but the cause of the fire still remains a mystery, though it is under investigation, said Heflin.

Daniel Quinn, the host at Crab Pot restaurant, said that he heard a bang like an explosion. “There was a big bang and I looked up, and there was this ginormous plume of black smoke.”

The fire sent up an ominous tower of smoke that could be seen and smelled for about 30 miles around downtown Los Angeles.

When rescue workers moved the boat to an isolation dock, it started to submerge and fill with water. Long Beach officials plan to use a salvage company to lift the boat from the water.

Heflin said that no firefighters were injured in the process, but most were offered mental health services just in case they were overwhelmed by trauma.

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