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Canal boat burned out after an electrical fault

Staffordshire | News | Published:

A canal boat was completely gutted by fire in South Staffordshire after an electrical fault caused it to set alight.

The boat was moored along a quiet section of the Stafford Union Canal in Wheaton Aston.

Fire crews were called to the scene at 8am yesterday and had to use 50 litres of foam to put it out.

Diesel fuel was on fire both beneath and inside the boat but no water in the canal was contaminated.

Crews from Penkridge, Tamworth and Brewood attended to the boat for four hours, while The Canal and River Trust also inspected the scene.

Firefighters tackled the fire using hose reel jets and one main jet and also had to deal with two propane gas cylinders on-board.

The canal boat was empty at the time of the fire and last night it remained moored to the canal's tow path.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service confirmed the fire was caused by a loose battery terminal.

Watch commander Paul Danby, of Brewood Community Fire Station, said crews were concerned about the environmental impact of the fire on the canal and the surrounding area.

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He added: "We used approximately 50 litres of foam concentrate to deal with diesel fuel on fire beneath the flooring of the boat and on the surface of water inside the boat, but it was contained and no water in the canal was contaminated.

"Fire safety is vitally important on a boat because whilst fires on inland waters are less common than those on land, they can have devastating consequences.

"Boats are often in remote locations with difficult access, which may mean firefighters take longer to reach the incident.

"Consequently a fire may have longer to take hold and could totally destroy a boat and everything on-board."

Advice offered to canal boat owners to prevent fires include fitting smoke alarms, ensuring boats undergo legally-required safety tests every four years and checking battery terminals and fuse box connections for damage or overheating.

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