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1 burn victim being treated after blaze on boat in False Creek, fire chief says

One person suffered burn injuries after a blaze broke out on a boat in Vancouver's False Creek Thursday, according to first responders.

Asst. Chief Ken Gemmill told CTV News first responders received "multiple, multiple, calls" about the fire, which happened on what he described as a "30-foot pleasure craft tied to probably a 40-foot sailboat tied to a 20-foot little pleasure craft."

All three boats were heavily damaged, Gemmill says, noting that flames and heavy smoke could be seen from the shore but that crews could not fight the fire from land.

"We waited for Fireboat 1 to arrive and as soon as they arrived, they basically started pumping right away and extinguished the flames fairly quick," he said.

Two people who were on board escaped with the help of another boater and were being examined by paramedics, Gemmill said.

In an email, BC Emergency Health Services said one patient was taken to hospital with serious injuries but in stable condition.

The Vancouver Police Department and inspectors from the fire department were also on the scene Thursday evening.

A cause is still under investigation, but fire crews told CTV News on Thursday that the man who was badly burned was cooking.


The City of Vancouver and the VPD oversee the waterway, and illegally anchored vessels have become a problem in False Creek.

The city says a permit is needed to stay overnight, and the length varies depending on the time of year.

If boaters fail to comply, the city says VPD marine officers will then issue a violation, with the next step being removing the boat from the water.

"We've heard lots of concerns about public safety related to derelict vessels in False Creek," wrote the VPD in an email.

"Our Marine Unit has been working proactively with our partners at City Hall, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, and Coast Guard to address safety concerns."

Police went on to say that they identified and removed a number of derelict vessels that were abandoned, in danger of sinking, creating environment concerns or used for unlawful activity. Police didn't provide a total number of removals for this year.

The question has been raised as to why this vessel wasn't removed, even though it was anchored illegally. Police say there's a degree of sensitivity they take.

"One of the challenges we face is that many vessels are being used as affordable housing for people who would otherwise have nowhere to go," wrote police.

"We're sympathetic to this, and we're reluctant to take enforcement action that is going to further impact someone who is already struggling with housing."

The city explained that if a boat owner is in need of housing, they will be connected with the Homeless Services Outreach Team. Top Stories

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