A fire aboard a morning ferry sailing out of Tsawwassen gave passengers a scare and sent three crew members to hospital as a precaution on Tuesday.
The Queen of New Westminster left the terminal just after 10 a.m. and was bound for Duke Point until about 10 minutes into its trip when a fire was detected below deck in the bow of the ship.
Passenger Deryk Roberts heard a woman’s excited voice broadcasting from crew member radios confirming there was a fire in the bow thruster compartment. Then the fire alarm went off and within minutes all passengers were corralled into the cafeteria, he said.
The captain turned the ship around and returned to Tsawwassen where it could be evacuated.
“You could tell the ship was turning around quickly,” Roberts said. “Ferries don’t normally do anything that urgent.”
Sprinkler systems put out the fire, according to B.C. Ferries and Delta firefighters met the vessel at the terminal when it arrived.
Foot passengers are expecting to catch the 12:45 sailing out of Tsawwassen. Vehicle owners were allowed back on the ship to get their vehicles, but it was unclear which vessel they would sail on next.
Fires are rare on B.C. Ferries, said spokeswoman Deborah Marshall.
Several sailings between the two terminals were cancelled, including the 12:45 p.m., 5:45 p.m. and the 10:45 p.m. out of Duke Point and the 3:15 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. out of Tsawwassen.
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