Six Rescued From Barge Fire Near Dukes Meadows

Chiswick RNLI Lifeboat ferries fire crew to put out blaze on vessel

The Seahorse on fire near Dukes Meadows. Picture: RNLI

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Six people were rescued by the Chiswick RNLI when a barge caught fire on the Thames near Dukes Meadows this Sunday (24 July).

The lifeboat was on an exercise near Putney when they received the call. On arrival they found the vessel, Seahorse, a large converted barge, was at anchor with smoke coming out of the engine room, there were nine people on board, including two small children.

RNLI helmsman Ian Owen strongly advised that everyone on board should be evacuated from the boat at once. Four adults and the two children came board the lifeboat but the skipper of the Seahorse and two others refused to leave.

RNLI crewman Peter Knight stayed on board to liaise with the London Fire Brigade, who were on their way, but stayed at the front of the large vessel, well away from the fire. The six passengers were landed at Chiswick Pier and a few minutes later the lifeboat returned to the stricken vessel. By then land based fire crews had arrived; the fireboat Fire Dart was on its way from Lambeth but was still 30 minutes away. After an initial assessment six fireman were ferried to the Seahorse by lifeboat and proceeded to deal with the fire.

The Seahorse is normally on a residential berth at Kew Marine, and it turned out that the vessel had not been off its mooring for some time and the source of the fire was from combustible items that had been stored in the engine room. The fire crews swiftly brought the fire under control and after removing the materials from the engine room and damping down, it appeared that that the engine was undamaged. The Seahorse returned to its mooring by Kew Bridge under its own power although the Fire Dart accompanied it as a precaution.

RNLI Helmsman Ian Owen commented ‘We were able to swiftly evacuate the most vulnerable passengers from the vessel and through the joint efforts of the lifeboat crew and the London Fire Brigade a potentially hazardous situation was efficiently dealt with and all persons were unharmed.’

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Picture: RNLI

July 26, 2016

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