MYSTIC — Smoke continued to rise from the rubble the morning after a wind-driven, 4-alarm fire at Seaport Marine destroyed several warehouses and a private home.
The 911 call came in at 8:56 p.m. for “smoke in the area of Seaport Marine” at 2 Washington St., said Anthony Manfredi Jr., Fire Chief and Fire Marshal of Mystic, who was on the scene Monday morning.
“We had a lot of fire coming out the front and it was a wind-driven fire, so it was blowing out – a lot of fire, heavy fire. We got crews in the front and put crews in the back on the south side of the building and attacked it that way. We had a fire boat pumping water and we used hydrants. We got it under control around 1:30 a.m.”
Manfredi said the cause was under investigation by the Stonington Police, the state Fire Marshal and the Mystic Fire Department.
“There were propane tanks inside that were exploding and we had electrical problems – the electrical lines dropped and caused issues. We had to call Eversource to drop the grid,” Manfredi said.
“A lot of mutual aid was here,” said Manfredi, which included Norwich, Groton, Stonington, Old Mystic, North Stonington, Westerly, and New London, among others.
He said nobody was hurt and at one firefighter was evaluated on scene but not transported.
The house at the corner of Willow and Washington Street was destroyed. Manfredi said the resident of the house escaped safely with his animal.
“Today we have some hot spots and we’re going to put water on it and we’re doing the investigation,” Manfredi said.
One of Seaport Marine’s warehouses survived the fire as well as the waterfront restaurant, Red 36, both owned by Harry Boardsen, general manager of Seaport Marine, and his wife, Abbey Holstein, and her family.
The waterfront property was the site of “Smiler’s Wharf,” a redevelopment project proposed in 2019 for the 11.5-acre site that included a 6-story apartment building, a 40-room boutique hotel, a 200-seat waterside restaurant, commercial space, a public boardwalk, a marine services building and enlargement of the boat basin with slips for transient boaters. The owners withdrew their application in the face of strong local opposition from residents – some alleging the owners were neglecting the buildings so that they could be torn down – but the plans also garnered support from the business community. At the time, the owners said they planned to return with new ideas for the property.
The withdrawn plan also proposed moving all of the marine and mechanical work and boat storage at Seaport Marine to Noank Shipyard and tearing down the warehouses.
On Nov. 2, Boardsen and the Holsteins announced that they had sold Noank Shipyard to Epum Holdings, which owns marinas in Glastonbury, Essex, and Clinton, as well as Mystic Point Marina and Spicer’s Marina in Groton.
In response to CT Examiner’s request for comment, Boardsen texted the following statement on Monday afternoon:
“Last night a fire destroyed several structures at Seaport Marine, with no injuries and very contained damage due to the fast and effective intervention of first responders. The Stonington Fire Department and state fire marshal are studying the cause of the fire. We are working to have the site cleared of debris as soon as possible. We are thankful for all the first responders for their efforts in containing the blaze and protecting adjacent property.”