USCG and safety agencies start probe of fatal tugboat fire

Written by Nick Blenkey

patrice mcallisterThe U.S. Coast Guard, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Canadian Transportation Safety Board of Canada have begun investigations into a fire aboard the towing vessel Patrice McAllister near Prince Edward Point, Ontario. The 105-foot U.S.-flagged vessel was transiting on Lake Ontario from Toledo, Ohio, to a port in New York Tuesday morning when the fire broke out in the engine room.

The most severely injured crew member, the boat’s chief engineer, died in a Toronto hospital Wednesday morning. He had been medically evacuated by Canadian helicopter crew and taken to a hospital in Belleville, Ontario, and was later transferred to Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. The other five crewmembers were taken aboard the CCGS Cape Hearne and taken to Kingston, Ontario.

His name and the names of the other five people who were aboard the vessel are not being released.

Another commercial towboat towed the Patrice McAllister to Clayton, N.Y., arriving early Wednesday morning

The Coast Guard will attempt to identify the cause of the fire and determine if any fire-prevention or protection requirements need to be amended or added to existing regulations for towing vessels.

March 28, 2012

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