Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Five-alarm fire on a ship at Port of Tampa put out after a four-hour fight.

TAMPA — Tampa Fire Rescue had 143 firefighters on duty Wednesday morning.

At least 100 of them had a part in extinguishing a blaze that burned for hours on a 742-foot ship at the Port of Tampa.

The main reason for the unusually high manpower: the need to rotate firefighters under a sweltering summer sun that sent five of them to a hospital for heat exhaustion.

Imagine piling on 50 to 60 pounds of equipment, covering every inch of your skin and climbing 40 feet on a day when the heat index is pushing 108, Capt. Mark Bogush said.

Firefighter Brian Duke did it. The flames were hot. The water was hot. He had to take three breaks to cool off.

The fire was out by 1 p.m. No injuries were reported.

The blaze started sometime before 9 a.m., when some of the 32 crew members with the Liberian-flagged Sophie Olendorff noticed smoke coming from a conveyer belt that had been off-loading rock and gravel for about a day. They tried to fight the fire, but realized they needed help.

When rescue crews responded, they faced several challenges, said Tampa Fire Rescue Capt. Bill Wade.

The first was access, with the fire-damaged conveyor belt arm hanging high above the dock. Then there was the nearby sulfuric acid pipeline that, though not in use, was still a threat.

Then a power line on the dock fell onto a fence and started several small grass fires. Crews had to protect themselves from the downed line until Tampa Electric workers arrived.

The Patriot, the department's new fireboat, passed its first test, shooting 6,000 gallons of water every minute.

The blaze sent a huge plume of smoke above the port that was visible for miles. Hillsborough County Fire Rescue helped cover city calls as Tampa firefighters rushed to protect the ship.

The conveyor was destroyed, but the ship remained intact.

The five-alarm fire finally surrendered after a four-hour fight.

Said Capt. Bogush: "It felt like days."

Times staff writer Katie Sanders and Danny Valentine contributed to this report.

Five-alarm fire on a ship at Port of Tampa put out after a four-hour fight. 06/16/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 11:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Storm routs Cleveland


    TAMPA — Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles as the Storm routed Cleveland 57-27 Saturday night in its home regular-season finale at Amalie Arena.

  2. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre puts Texas ahead 4-3 when he scores after two wild pitches.
  3. Rowdies shut out Charleston


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.
  4. 13-year-old Janessa's father holds memorial service at Rogers Middle School


    RIVERVIEW — About 100 people sat in the tile-floored multipurpose room Saturday at Rodgers Middle School where Janessa Shannon once sat as a student.

    A mourner embraces Nahshon Shannon after the memorial service for Nahshon’s daughter, Janessa, Saturday at Rodgers Middle School in Riverview.
  5. Trump: Aircraft carrier a symbol of America's might (w/video)


    NORFOLK, Va. — With praise and a blessing for the military, President Donald Trump helped hand over the USS Gerald R. Ford to the Navy on Saturday and said the state-of-the-art aircraft carrier will send a "100,000-ton message to the world" about America's military might when it is ultimately deployed.

    President Donald Trump commissions the USS Gerald R. Ford on Saturday in Norfolk, Va.