Report: Skipper Bud’s Fire Appears Accidental

Skipper Bud’s Marina fire

In this picture by Thomas Delany, a backhoe rips the metal walls from building 215 at Skipper Buds on North Point Drive in Winthrop Harbor to expose the fire in the building which housed 100 boats for winter storage. Source: News-Sun

A fire that caused approximately $12 million in damages in a boat storage facility at Skipper Buds Marina looks to be accidental.

The 4-11 alarm fire that brought firefighters from 20 different departments Friday started in the back of the large building that was packed with boats. Deputy Chief Ron Levin said that an employee was apparently working on a boat, left, and when he returned there was too much smoke to go back into the building.

Because of the weather and the way the fire was situated in the back of the building, Fire Chief Neal Wollert called for extra manpower and for departments that had foam units that are often used around airports and types of chemical fires. He also made a special request for ladder trucks.

The warehouse had a sprinkler system that authorities noted slowed the progress of the fire considerably. Several boats were damaged and all have smoke damage and others closer to the fire may have some heat damage.

The State Fire Marshall’s office was called in to help investigate the blaze and on Monday inspectors were checking the building to see if it was structurally sound and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency was on hand to check for leaking chemicals and supervise some of the clean-up.

The Winthrop Harbor Yacht Club praised Skipper Buds for reaching out and contacting customers who had boats stored at the facility, which is located just west of North Point Marina.

According to Scott DeSoto, commodore of the club, only four boats suffered severe damage. “By 9:00 AM Saturday, many Skipper Buds customers had already received personal phone calls and emails from Dennis Ellerbrock and or Skipper Buds staff,” he wrote on the club’s web site.

“Credit for quick response needs to be given to Winthrop Harbor, State of Illinois personal, Skipper Buds and ALL the surrounding municipalities,” he said.

The fire was struck after 6 hours.

Source: Frank Abderholden, Lake County News-Sun

18 February 2008 | Boating Disasters | Comments

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