A fire Monday morning destroyed a 55-foot research vessel owned by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration undergoing repairs at the Cambridge Yacht Maintenance boatyard on Cambridge Creek.

Investigators from the Maryland State Fire Marshal's office said the accidental fire caused about $500,000 in damages.

The RV Laidly caught fire around 8:56 a.m. Monday, according to investigators for the Maryland State Fire Marshal, who said the accidental fire happened while a contractor was welding to repair the hull of the vessel and welding sparks ignited nearby combustibles inside the boat.

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service had operated the vessel from the Cooperative Oxford Laboratory, a joint venture between NOAA and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Fire investigators said 25 firefighters from Cambridge's Rescue Fire Co. had the blaze under control in about an hour.


(2) comments


I think I'd call it stupidity, rather than negligence not to have checked the surrounding area for flammables before starting to weld. That's one of the things a second person, the Fire Watch, is supposed to do. This is a boat yard with lots of thing that burn "Fast & Furious(ly)"

When I was working and any welding or burning was to be done, it was never started before the area was cleared and declared safe.


This incident looks more like neglibence rather than "accidental"! I assume the state will file a claim against the contractor's insurance policy for the half million dollars and not leave us taxpayers holding that bag too!!!

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