Boat on Fire

A 32-foot boat erupted into flames early Sunday morning on the Elk River, forcing its occupants to jump ship.

CHESAPEAKE CITY — A fire erupted on a boat out on the Elk River early Sunday morning, causing five people to jump overboard and swim for safety.

All five passengers swam roughly 15 yards to the shore around 7:45 a.m. after a fire sparked in the engine compartment on the 32-foot 1989 Albemarle Convertible cabin boat, according to the Natural Resources Police.

No one was injured. Once all five passengers arrived on shore, they declined medical treatment.

“What we know right now is that they saw the meters shoot up,” said Lt. Catherine Medellin, a NRP spokeswoman, on Sunday afternoon. “We’re still gathering information.”

According to NRP’s preliminary investigation, the boat reportedly came from the C&D Canal and was on its way to the Chester River. The fire started once the boat neared the Harbour North Marina.

Roughly 20 firefighters from the Charlestown, Hack’s Point, and North East fire departments responded to the blaze, taking about an hour to fully extinguish it, according to the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal.

The boat, owned by Robert James, sustained $30,000 in damage, according to the fire marshal’s office. The area of the fire’s origin as well as the cause of the fire remains under investigation, officials reported Sunday night.

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