OREGON, Ohio – The Coast Guard says a fire that occurred inside a Lake Erie docked vessel overnight is under control and officials are now conducting pollution tests.
The fire broke out on the deck of the St. Clair Saturday night at the Port of Toledo in northern Ohio. No one was aboard and there was no cargo on the vessel at the time. The cause is still undetermined.
Coast guard officials say the external fire is currently under control, however preventative measures, using water-cooling techniques, continue on adjacent ships.
Denny Hartman is chief of the fire department in Oregon, Ohio. He said Sunday morning that the fire apparently burned through the deck and ignited an enormous rubber conveyor belt below.
Hartman likened the conditions to a tire fire, which are notoriously difficult to put out.
The chief said firefighters sprayed water on the ship to keep it cool to avoid structural damage while the fire smolders.
There were no reported injuries during the incident.
Meanwhile, the Coast Guard is conducting a pollution assessment of the Maumee River.
The Environmental Protection Agency has conducted air quality tests in the vicinity of the vessel and determined the air is clear of pollution.