By Tribune staff
A Homer man threatening suicide allegedly set a commercial fishing boat on fire Monday night, but emergency crews were able to contain the fire and transported the man to the hospital for burn injuries.
The man remained hospitalized with serious burns on Tuesday, Homer Police Lt. Randy Rosencrans said. The Homer Police Department, in keeping with its policy on potential suicide victims, declined to release the 58-year-old man’s name. He has not been charged with a crime.
At about 8:10 p.m. Monday night, Homer police were called to the Northern Enterprises Boat Yard. It was reported that the man had boarded a dry-docked commercial fishing vessel in the yard and was threatening to kill himself and burn the vessel.
Officers responded to the scene and found the fishing vessel, the Slava II, had been doused with an unknown fire accelerant. Officers established phone contact with the man, described as “despondent,” and continued to talk with him for four hours.
Members of the Homer Volunteer Fire Department stood by as officers negotiated with the man. Fire Capt. Dan Miotke said the firefighters were staged around a corner because the scene was to secured.
At about 1 a.m., officers and firefighters observed an explosion and a subsequent fire on the vessel. They were not close enough to view the explosion, Miotke said, for the safety of those standing by.
Shortly thereafter, the man emerged from the vessel suffering various degrees of burn injuries. He was transported to South Peninsula Hospital where he remained hospitalized as of Tuesday morning with serious burns.
While HVFD members transported the man to the hospital, Kachemak Emergency Service Volunteers joined Homer’s firefighters in responding to the vessel fire. The Slava II is a 48-foot commercial fishing vessel that was surrounded by other boats in the winter storage yard but was near an end slot.
“It appears the Slava II was severely damaged. However, it also appears that damage to the surrounding vessels in the boat yard was kept to a minimum,” Rosencrans said in a press release.
The fire was contained to the one fishing vessel and was considered put out by 5 a.m., Miotke said. “It appears to be a complete loss.” The boat’s value was estimated at around $600,000.
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