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News / Nation & World

Staten Island Ferry engine fire prompts passenger evacuation

By Associated Press
Published: December 23, 2022, 8:13am

NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly 900 passengers were evacuated from a Staten Island Ferry vessel following a fire in the ship’s engine room, a news outlet reported.

The New York City Fire Department said units responded to a report of a fire in the mechanical room of a ship in upper New York Bay shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday, WNBC-TV reported.

Five people were reported injured, three of them requiring hospital treatment, WNBC said.

There were approximately 868 people on the vessel, the Sandy Ground, with an additional 16 crew members, Deputy Assistant Fire Chief Frank Leeb told a news conference.

The U.S. Coast Guard evacuated the passengers to the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island. The ferry’s crew members were also taken off the boat. The evacuation took less than an hour, the TV station reported.

The department will wait at least 24 hours and monitor temperatures before entering the engine room to determine whether the fire is completely extinguished, Leeb said. The blaze was contained to the ship’s engine room and stack, the fire department said.

Leeb credited the ship’s crew with quickly notifying the Coast Guard. “They were also very quick to make sure that they sealed the engine room, evacuated the area” and injected CO2 into the room to remove the oxygen, Leeb said.

The NYC Department of Transportation said the Sandy Ground was temporarily anchored near Bayonne, New Jersey, as passengers were transferred. A spokesperson for NY Waterway said one of its ferries assisted with the evacuation.

Video producer Annika Wolters contributed to this report from Bangkok.

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