SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A sailboat caught fire Sunday around 2:45 p.m. at Shelter Cove Marina, witnesses say a lithium battery in the navigation panel started the blaze.
"Saw the smoke, thought it was a barbecue then the kids started screaming on the dock and saw the black smoke and knew it was time to react," Boater and Witness Charlie Colson said. He said he grabbed a hose and was helping the father who was on the boat when the fire started.
Getting a boat fire put out quickly is crucial, Witness and Boater Murad Abel said. "There's a lot of electrical equipment, you have batteries, you have fuel, propane, it's all probably within 10 feet of each other," he said.
Colson said they had it under control by the time firefighters made it to the scene. "The nine minutes probably seemed like 27 to me, because I was putting the fire out, and I wanted some help, I wanted a professional there," He said chuckling.
He said the family had just moved onto the boat last week. Both confirmed the family has a special needs son, adored by the community. "You could literally come back 2 hours later and he's still fishing trying to get fish off the back of the boat, so he's very diligent in that," Abel said.
They're hoping insurance covers the damage. Colson believes it's a total loss.
No one was injured.