WILDWOOD - Squad Co. 3, under the command of Capt. Matt Johnson, and North Wildwood Fire Department Ladder Co. 2 were dispatched to Otten’s Harbor around 10:30 a.m. May 1, for the report of a boat fire.
According to a release, upon Squad Co. 3’s arrival, firefighters found a working boat fire involving an approximately 40-foot pleasure vessel that was docked in the 400 block of Dock Street. Initial arriving firefighters were flagged down upon arrival advising of a burn victim who was brought into a nearby business. Wildwood Crest Emergency Medical Services (EMS), along with AtlantiCare paramedics, treated and transported the victim to the Cape May County Armory, in Court House, where the patient was transferred to a medevac helicopter and airlifted to the Jefferson University Hospital Burn Center, in Philadelphia, where the patient is listed in serious condition at this time.
The alarm was upgraded to a full first-alarm assignment, which recalls off-duty firefighters and brings additional resources from the Wildwood Crest, Rio Grande and Stone Harbor fire departments.
Squad Co. 3 began an aggressive attack of the fire. Fire boats also responded from the North Wildwood and Stone Harbor fire departments.
Early into firefighting operations, the vessel broke free of its moorings and began floating east down Otten’s Harbor. Due to the strong winds at the time of the incident, the vessel eventually ended up at the east end of Otten’s Harbor, adjacent to Park Boulevard.
As the boat drifted in the harbor, there was minor damage to two other docked vessels.
The fire was placed under control in 30 minutes.
The Wildwood Police Department, New Jersey State Police, Marine Services Bureau, U.S. Coast Guard, and Sea Tow Cape May all assisted at the incident, as well.
There was one minor injury to a Wildwood City firefighter.
The fire remains under investigation by the Cape May County Fire Marshal’s Office and the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety. Fire department units operated on the scene for approximately three and a half hours.