Seward sailboat fire victim may have been tenant
State authorities are trying to identify the man found dead aboard a burned Seward Harbor sailboat Saturday, as fire crews say he may have been living there as a renter.
Seward Fire Chief Eddie Athey said that a dog was also found dead along with the man discovered Saturday, after firefighters responded to the sailboat Perspective at about 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Part of the response to the blaze was captured in video recorded by Seward Ocean Excursions owner/operator Bixler McClure.
“The bystanders and the harbor crew had really done the lion’s share of putting the fire out with the extinguishers available on the dock, but out crew stretched a line into the bottom and put the fire out,” Athey said. “And that’s when we found the deceased male occupant.”
Athey had high praise for harbor staff, who also acted quickly to ensure the blaze didn’t expand.
“The fire was contained to the sailboat, but there was another sailboat tied up next to it,” Athey said. “There was potential for the fire to spread, but they moved that sailboat.”
The body was being autopsied by the state medical examiner’s office, Athey said, but its identification was complicated by the practice of “liveaboard” renters who stay aboard vessels docked at the harbor.
“An owner of a vessel that has several hundred thousand dollars of equipment and machine will often rent out its living space, so someone can keep an eye on it on a daily basis,” Athey said. “At this point we don’t have any indication whether the deceased is the owner of the vessel or just a liveaboard.”
Athey emphasized that the cause of the fire is still under examination, but said no foul play is believed to have been involved. Firefighters had found a wood stove below deck aboard the sailboat.
“It was in use at the time of the fire,” Athey said.
For Seward responders, the fatal blaze offers an important safety message to people spending extended periods of time aboard boats.
“Even though it’s a boat, you should still have a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm,” Athey said. “You’ve got carbon-based fuels and a wood stove, you should definitely have both.”
Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.
YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN: