About 45 minutes after being reported the fire brigade finally arrived, and although some of us looking at the blaze from the marina on the other side of the canal made comments about the tardiness of the fire service, personally I could see the difficulty involved in firstly finding the location of, and then gaining access to the area. As they approached the boat a gas bottle exploded, sending them running back in the direction they had come.
Anyway, then the fun really started: I don't like to criticise the emergency services, but the apparently didn't realise that the ropes had burned through and that once they pointed their powerful hoses at the burning boat it would simply drift off in the opposite direction and out of the reach of their hoses.
This is precisely what happened and the occupants of 6 boats including my own at the northern end of the marina, suddenly found that the blazing wreck was heading directly towards them! We spent about 20 minutes fending the boat off with poles and tried to make use of our puny hoses. Added to this it was the coldest night for a while and the pontoons were a bit icy and quite slippery. A couple of people lost their footing as they were running around in the melee, but fortunately nobody was hurt. With flames leaping about 10ft from the boat and the acrid smoke smothering us it really felt like the professionals had left us to it, but eventually they made it around to our side.
We managed to drive the boat over to the arm at the back of Brentford Island where the fire brigade put it out and it now lays sunk. We were fortunate that it wasn't very windy last night as it usually blows from a northerly direction and fending off would have been much more difficult.
All in all it was quite a scary experience.
Edited by blackrose, 29 March 2009 - 07:19 PM.