Multiple fireboats respond as barge burns in Delaware River

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(BOWERS, Del.) — The fire on a barge in the Delaware Bay was extinguished Tuesday, and Northstar Environmental and Marine Services has been contracted to assess the integrity of the vessel and manage salvage operations.

A unified command consisting of representatives from Eastern Metal Recycling, New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, Cumberland County Office of Emergency Management, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the U.S. Coast Guard has been established to oversee salvage operations.

A Coast Guard 87-foot patrol boat is monitoring the situation and enforcing a safety zone, which vessels are prohibited from entering unless authorized by the captain of the port of Delaware Bay. The 500-yard safety zone is being enforced around the barge and Northstar Independence, the contractor’s 185-foot salvage vessel. Should the fire reignite, Northstar Independence has firefighting capabilities on board.

No sheening or discoloration has been observed on the waterway.

“I want to thank all the responders, especially Fire Chief Aaron Warren, the local fire companies, and Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, who initially responded to this complex and dynamic situation,” said Capt. Jonathan Theel, Sector Delaware Bay captain of the port. “The fire is out due to their dedication and adaptability.”

Previous report

(BOWERS, Del.) — The U.S. Coast Guard and local fire agencies are responding to a barge fire approximately 9 miles south of Port Mahon on Monday morning.

Watch standers at the Sector Delaware Bay Command Center received a call at approximately 1 a.m. reporting a barge on fire in the Delaware River. The barge was reportedly carrying household appliances for scrap.

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The Coast Guard launched a 29-foot response boat crew to assist and continue to monitor the situation. There are six fireboats on scene from local fire agencies actively fighting the fire.

“Our highest priority is ensuring the safety of firefighters and response personnel on scene,” said Capt. Jonathan Theel, Sector Delaware Bay captain of the port. “We will also work to mitigate any environmental threats and protect the flow of commerce within this vital port.”

There are no injuries and no evidence of pollution impacting the waterway. The cause of the fire is not known at this time.

The Coast Guard requests that all mariners avoid the area of the incident.

– U.S. Coast Guard

By Rich Miller