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Five treated for smoke inhalation after boat catches fire in San Diego Bay

Posted at 2:31 PM, Sep 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-03 18:14:26-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Fire crews responded after a boat caught fire in the San Diego Bay Monday afternoon.

Video sent to 10News by a viewer shows smoke billowing from the vessel near the Coronado Bridge.

According to Harbor Police, the distress call went out around 2 p.m. An Air Marine Operations boat on routine patrol was the first on scene. The federal marine agents used fire extinguishers to put out the fire, which was confined to the engine compartment. Fortunately, conditions were calm at the time.

"It's very difficult to control a boat that's burning, not only do you have to deal with the people on board, you have to make sure that you ensure their safety and then you have to deal with a floating fire," said Harbor Police Lt. Victor Banuelos.

The fire was quickly put out, but three people and the two officers were taken to the hospital for the treatment of smoke inhalation. Firefighters believe an electrical short in the engine sparked the fire, but the incident is under investigation.

The 36 foot cabin cruiser was towed to the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal.

“I am proud of the work our Air and Marine boat crew conducted this busy Labor Day,” said Hunter Davis, Director of Air and Marine Operations in San Diego. “Their vigilance helped minimize the prospect that these events would have resulted in a tragic loss of life on the water.”