Fire departments from around the area — including Bristol — responded to Pirate Cove Marina in Portsmouth just after 8 p.m. Wednesday after a report of two boats on fire.
Police now say four boats were damaged during the blaze.
There were no reports of anyone on board the boats at the time of the fire. No injuries were reported.
At least three area fire departments — Portsmouth, Bristol and Tiverton — fought hard to prevent the fire from spreading to surrounding boats in the busy marina. The U.S. Coast Guard were also on scene to prevent hazardous materials from entering the bay.
Close call at Pirate Cove Marina
A crowd of at least 20 nearby residents and boatyard personnel watched from Point Road as a heavy, gray plume of smoke rose from the boats. Firefighters could be seen along the docks fighting the flames.
"If the Engine 1 crew hadn't used an attack line, it (the fire) certainly would have spread," said Capt. Michael O'Brien, spokesperson for the Portsmouth Fire Department. "They stopped the fire's progress pretty quickly."
The fire was located at the end of one of the marina's busy slips. Boats were docked closeby where the blaze was fought. The department's first responders made an immediate call to stop the fire from spreading to other boats.
"It was a risky decision, but it made a huge difference because we were able to put out a large amount of fire at once," O'Brien said.
The decision was risky, according to O'Brien, due to the weight of equipment and the unstable docks.
A propane cylinder on one of the boats also "intensified the fire."
Fire damages boats in marina
Four boats were found to be damaged after the fire was extinguished.
One of the boats was a 25-ft., fiberglass powerboat. The name, "Capcity," could be read on its stern after it was removed from the water.
The second boat, which appeared more heavily damaged, was a 1958, 40-ft. Richardson wooden boat. The owner was reportedly on scene Wednesday night.
A third and fourth boat were also believed to be damaged Tuesday night. The third, a sailboat, received some minor damage.
Police are also checking on a fourth boat, which might have sustained some heat damage.
The owners of powerboat and Richardson have been notified. Police are still attempting to notify the other owners this morning.
Crews pull smoldering boat from water
There was a tense moment around 9:30 p.m. The Richardson boat was pulled by a crane out of the water; however, the boat was still smoking. Firefighters rushed to extinguish the hot spots while the boat remained in the crane.
"We knew the boat was smoldering," O'Brien said. "We didn't want the boat to capsize and sink. The decision was made. The worst outcome would have been to have the boat sink."
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Portsmouth detectives and members of the State Fire Marshal's Office were both at the marina Wednesday night.