STONINGTON — The state is investigating after two lobster boats and the Stonington town dock were heavily damaged by fire Wednesday morning.
Officials say they were called in around 4:30 a.m. When they arrived, the Lindy, Inc. lobstering boat was fully engulfed in flames and sunk at the town dock.
The Madeira family owns the Lindy, Inc. and another boat that was also heavily damaged by the fire, the F/V Martha Elizabeth. Family tells FOX 61 that Justin and Travis Madeira are in China right now. He says they travel all over the world during different times of year for the fishing business.
State DEEP is on the scene investigating the incident, and the state’s fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.
A nearby fisherman tells FOX 61’s Tony Terzi that the Lindy, INC is known to have electrical problems. The boat was put in the water in 1997 and the fisherman says quite regularly, electricians can be seen fixing things on the boat.
Longtime Stonington fishermen say if the wind had not been blowing out of the north this morning, the fire that sunk one lobster boat and heavily damaged another one, owned by the same family, could’ve been far worse.
“The vessel that was on fire sank in place, did significant structural damage to the town dock as well as damaging a boat that was tied up to it,” said Capt. Todd Olson of the Stonington Police Department, who added that the cause has yet to be determined.
The Lindy, Inc. is scheduled to be lifted from the water Thursday morning at 9. The delay was a result of difficulty accessing insurance information because the boat’s owners are in China.
“We are also trying to figure out how we’re going to lift this boat out of the water to continue our investigation,” Olson sad.
DEEP officials also say there is a sheen on the water indicating a fuel leak, but they won’t know the extent of the leak until it is raised to the surface.
“We are still trying to ascertain the actual volume that is in the boat,” said Jeff Chandler of the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. “We have a sheen of diesel fuel. We are going to be deploying absorbing and containment booms in an effort to minimize the impact of the area.”
There was also significant damage to the Stonington town dock right next to the two boats.
Olson says nothing so far is causing investigators to be suspicious, but “until we determine the cause, we will consider it a crime scene.”
Both boats are used for lobstering, but the state is now in it’s “dead period.” That means, according to state law, there is now lobstering between September 9 and November 29.