58,000-acre brush fire closes I-90

14 boats catch fire near Lake Union just prior to fireworks

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SEATTLE — A firework from a nearby hill may have sparked a blaze that damaged 14 boats at a Lake Union marina Thursday night.

The fire was sparked in a single boat at 10 p.m., just before a yearly fireworks show near Gas Works park was scheduled to begin. Officials with the Lake Union Skylaunch Marina said the initial boat ignited in flames was closest to Northlake Way. The fire spread quickly, but firefighters and Seattle Boat Company staff managed to prevent a much larger blaze.

“We are thankful for an outstanding team who reacted professionally and quickly in this extraordinary circumstance,” Alan Bohling of the Seattle Boat Company said.

Estimated damage is $1.5 million, police said. The Skylaunch was first in operation in 2007 and serves about 250 boat customers. Boat owner Scott Swantek said he watched as the fire took off.

“We were there and everybody was like, “boat on fire!” Swantek said. “People running over there with a couple of fire extinguishers, people were shooting at that and it didn’t work and they kicked us out of there and the fire department came.”

Boat owners were left to survey the damage Friday morning. Jeff York remained upbeat, despite losing his boat to the fire.

“We were talking about a new boat someday anyways,” York said. “So the moment is now.”

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