Reefer catches fire at Wilmington port


A fire broke out aboard a refrigerated freighter in the port of Wilmington, Delaware on Monday evening.

The crew aboard the containerized fruit carrier Dole contacted the U.S. Coast Guard Division Delaware Bay around midnight, reporting that an engine fire had broken out shortly after leaving port.

The ship quickly activated its fire fighting system, activate a carbon dioxide system to flood the engine room and deprive the fire of oxygen, and moored securely at the pier. The Coast Guard dispatched a boat from the Philadelphia station to establish a safe zone, while responders from the Wilmington Fire Department, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the Department of Wilmington Fire and the New Castle Fire Department worked to ensure the blaze was under control.

There were 30 people on board at the time of the incident and no injuries were reported.

“I believe three things saved the crew and prevented this fire from turning into a major incident: the immediate actions of the crew when the fire broke out, integrated security systems and strong partnerships across the port” said Chief Warrant Officer Todd Wardwell, acting as the lead representative of the on-scene federal coordinator.

Local response agencies worked together to contain and monitor the situation from land and sea, all of which are part of a port rescue and sea firefighting group.

“The rapid actions of the crew, the ship’s safety designs and the multi-agency response to this maritime fire validated the safety requirements and the value of coordinated port-wide planning efforts and exercises before the launch. ‘a crisis event does not occur,’ said Captain Jonathan Theel, captain of the Delaware Bay sector. port.


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