UPDATED: Wind-driven fire destroys two buildings at Seaport Marine in Mystic
Mystic ― Firefighters from several area departments battled a major fire at Seaport Marine on Washington Street that broke out just before 9 p.m. Sunday and destroyed two buildings.
No one was injured in the wind-driven blaze but one firefighter was taken to the hospital to be evaluated, said Mystic Fire Chief Anthony Manfredi Jr. early Monday morning. The fire also forced nearby residents to evacuate their homes.
The fire was reported at 8:56 p.m. and when firefighters arrived, Manfredi said there was “a lot of fire” and he was worried the blaze could spread to nearby homes including those on Willow Street. He called four alarms which brought help from surrounding departments.
As of 9:50 p.m., large flames and heavy smoke could be seen coming from the interior of the property. The raging fire, which appeared to be growing in size about 10:10 p.m., was located just south of the end of Cottrell Street, where several large boat sheds and an office are located. Multiple explosions could be heard coming from the fire as crowds gathered across the Mystic River in Groton to see the fire.
Ladder trucks could be seen pouring water on the fire. By 10:45 p.m. firefighters appeared to be getting hold of the fire as smoke and flames has diminished. By 12:30 a.m. this morning, the fire was under control but not yet extinguished.
Manfredi said the fire destroyed a large storage and office building and badly damaged an adjacent home. He said the state fire marshal was responding to assist with the investigation into the cause of the fire.
Norwich firefighters, also responded to the fire and a Facebook video posted by Norwich Firefighters Local 892 showed a massive fireball at the south end of Cottrell Street.
Stonington Police Deputy Chief Todd Olson said late Sunday night he was not aware of any injuries due to the fire. He said police closed Route 1 and other streets in the area and evacuated residents from nearby homes and buildings including the Whaler’s Inn where the fire alarm was still sounding at 11:20 p.m.
Power was also out in the neighborhood with Eversource reporting 158 customers without power as of 12:37 a.m.
The 122-slip marina along the Mystic River is also home to the popular Red 36 restaurant. The restaurant did not catch fire late Sunday night.
Marianne Jasmine, who said her boat is tied up at the marina, said she came down to Mystic River Park when she learned of the fire. But she said the flames were so high embers were hitting people in the park. They then had to evacuate the park.
The blaze was the biggest fire in downtown Mystic since March of 2000 when a nighttime fire destroyed a West Main Street building that housed eight businesses next to the drawbridge. In 1960, a fire destroyed 15 businesses and a movie theater not far from Seaport Marine.
Seaport Marine is owned by the Holstein family, which recently sold its other marina, the 155-slip Noank Shipyard, to Epum Holdings.
After the sale, Seaport Marine General Manager Harry Boardsen said he and his family would continue to own and operate the Seaport Marine as well as its other facility, Bridgeport Boatworks. Boardsen said he and the Holsteins were looking forward to the further development of the Seaport Marine property.
In 2019, the family proposed a major redevelopment of the 11-acre Seaport Marine property, called Smiler’s Wharf, that included 120 more slips, a 45-room hotel, a marine services building, a second restaurant, a public park and walkway and housing, but withdrew it in the face of opposition.
This is a developing story