Blaze poses challenge for firefighters
This was the view from the Port Dover Yacht Club Wednesday as a derelict tug boat in the Harry Gamble Shipyard caught fire and burned. Norfolk Fire & Rescue had the situation under control about 90 minutes after the alarm was called in. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER
A derelict tug boat caught fire in the Harry Gamble Shipyard in Port Dover Wednesday.
The alarm was called in to Norfolk Fire & Rescue around 3 p.m.
The Jiggs was fully involved by time firefighters arrived.
There was initial concern that fire vehicles couldn’t get down to the Lynn River in the area of Lynn Street but they found their way through the scrap vehicles and other waste items that have accumulated in the shipyard over the decades.
Firefighters stood by while a Komatsu excavator tore at the boat. Once the burning wheelhouse was fully exposed, they extinguished the flames with water from a pumper truck. Firefighters vacated the scene around 4:15 p.m.
The website For Posterity’s Sake: A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project, says the Jiggs was launched in 1911 in Lorain, Ohio, as the tug Baltimore.
The steel-hulled boat was 61 feet long and 16 feet in the beam.
The tug was renamed the Patricia McQueen in 1936 when it was purchased by a new owner. It saw service in the Canadian navy during the Second World War.
In 1970 the boat was renovated into a yacht and renamed Maracaibo II. The boat was renamed again in 1982 as Jiggs.
“Jiggs was last reported as a derelict vessel at a shipyard in Port Dover half submerged in mud and in a state of complete disrepair,” the For Posterity’s Sake website says.
A report from Norfolk Fire & Rescue was not available at press time. A member of the Gamble family declined to comment at the scene.