Updated, 9:15 p.m.: All 156 passengers on board a Victoria Clipper whale watching boat are now safe after an engine fire diverted the boat to Shilshole Marina this evening just after 7 p.m. Kyle Moore from Seattle Fire says the fire started in an engine compartment, after which crews quickly sealed the compartment and used a chemical suppressant to extinguish flames.
The passengers were on their way back from their whale watching trip when they were told to go upstairs to help with “weight distribution,” according to passenger Lauren Robuck from Alabama. She didn’t know what was happening until she saw crew members carrying fire extinguishers. She says they were on the top deck of the boat for almost two hours as the boat made its way into Shilshole, where they docked and unloaded.
Three tour buses pulled up to collect the passengers after they disembarked the ship to take them downtown. “Thankfully everyone is safe!” Robuck said. “But we didn’t see any whales,” she added, with a hint of disappointment.
Earlier: The Victoria Clipper reported an engine fire, triggering a massive fire response while the ship diverted to Shilshole.
There’s no visible smoke from the vessel, which has now docked.
Passengers are beginning to disembark, and two city buses have arrived to pick them up.
“I came all the way from New Mexico to get on the news!” woman jokes as she loads into a bus.
The Clipper was coming back from a whale watching trip when the engine caught fire. Passenger Lauren from Alabama told us they saw no whales, just reporters.
There are no reports of injuries. This is the largest fire response we’ve seen in our history with My Ballard: 10 engines and 4 ladder trucks, drawing from downtown units.
The initial call was for a fire in the engine compartment. It appears to be out.
We are on scene and updating here and on @myballard on Twitter.