BAR HARBOR, Maine — Officials are trying to determine how an unattended fishing boat on a mooring in the local harbor caught fire Wednesday morning.

The boat, Wind and Spirit, suffered “extensive damage,” according to U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Kurt Hein. The fire was reported to the Coast Guard station in Southwest Harbor at around 10 a.m., he said, which sent a vessel to the scene to help maintain a security perimeter around the burning boat.

Members of the Bar Harbor Fire Department and the local harbormaster’s office responded by taking personnel out on another vessel to fight the fire, Hein said. Firefighters had to cut into the boat to get at flames, he said, but the boat did not sink. Hein said the vessel has been towed to the nearby town pier, where it is tied up while fire department officials try to determine how it started.

“It’s currently under investigation,” Hein said.

Matt Bartlett, chief of the town’s fire department, said Wednesday evening that a local lobster fisherman took him and other firefighters along with a portable pump and hose out on his boat to get to Wind and Spirit. They knocked the flames down quickly and, after determining it was safe to board, climbed onto the charred boat to make sure the flames were out.

Bartlett said they didn’t want to spray too much water into the bottom of the boat and make it sink. They pumped water they had sprayed onto the boat into the harbor, he said, but only after they put a floating boom around the boat to contain any oil that might have been pumped overboard.

The chief said the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the State Fire Marshal’s Office have been notified of the incident, and that fire marshal investigators will try to determine what caused the blaze. He said he is not sure who owns the vessel or whether it is insured.

Bartlett said firefighters from Mount Desert, Southwest Harbor and Trenton helped provide mutual aid, as did Northeast Harbor Ambulance personnel.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....