Just before 11:30 Friday night some folks at the La Quinta Inn on SE 32nd noticed smoke coming out of the Seawater Seafood building across the street – and so they jumped on the phone to 9-1-1.
Firefighters raced to the scene while Toledo firefighters arrived in Newport for back up coverage should anything else happen .
Arriving Newport Firefighters saw black smoke coming out the gaps in the rollup door of Seawater Seafood Company and instantly knew some serious fire was burning just on the other side. One firefighter went around the side and forced the sidedoor and began to attack the flames from there while the smaller front door was opened to allow a second attack. Within a few minutes firefighters were raising the rollup door to let the rest of the black smoke ventilate to the outside. Then they finished off what was left of the fire.
Fire Chief Phil Paige said it appeared that the blaze began fairly close to the west side of the front rollup, just on the other side of some freezers. Chief Paige said there were several totes containing fishing gear and some trash that appeared to have ignited. No word yet on what exactly sparked the blaze.
An aggressive firefighter entry and fast hoses kept the damage in the “minor” category which should be good news for the owner who is, of course, looking forward to getting out on the water December 15th for the launch of the commercial crab season. It was a close call for him, to be sure.