Menemsha Boathouse Fire Investigation Concluded

Coast Guard investigates boat house fire. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard
Chart of location.

The Coast Guard reports that a joint team of investigators has concluded its review of the July 12, 2010, fire that destroyed the Coast Guard boathouse, a public pier, and several private boats in Menemsha Harbor on Martha’s Vineyard.

Investigators briefed Captain Verne Gifford, commander of Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England, on their findings Wednesday.

Aerial view of the boat house fire. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard

The investigation was conducted jointly by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Massachusetts State Fire Marshal, and the Coast Guard Investigative Service with assistance from the Chilmark Police and Chilmark Fire Department.

The investigation was requested by Captain Gifford to examine the site for evidence of criminal activity and to identify the point of origin of the fire. The team conducted more than 70 interviews, performed forensic analysis of wiring samples and burn patterns, and reviewed weather data.

After review, investigators concluded that the evidence did not point to any criminal activity. The report states that the fire did not start inside the boathouse. It may have been the result of a discarded cigarette on the pier, faulty electrical wiring to the boathouse, or faulty electrical wiring to the town’s pier. They found insufficient evidence to determine a more precise ignition source.

To view the investigation:

Full Investigation Report

Related Articles:

Boating Local Video:

Menemsha Fire Aftermath, July 26, 2010

New England Boating surveyed the results of the July 12 fire that destroyed the Coast Guard boathouse in Martha’s Vineyard’s Menemsha Harbor.

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