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Fire engulfs sailboat - Flames shoot out from 'Rocinante'

By:  Star Beacon - Shelley Terry

ASHTABULA - - A boat owned by a prominent Geneva attorney caught fire Friday afternoon while docked at the Ashtabula Yacht Club.

Firefighters found the cabin of William Bobulsky's 33R Tartan, "Rocinante," engulfed in flames at 2:45 p.m. at the dock, south of the Ashtabula Harbor lift bridge.

"I saw smoke and I thought, 'That's not right,'" said Mike Adley, a fellow boating enthusiast from Ashtabula. "I tried to call (Bobulsky) to tell him."

Two city fire engines responded to the call and firefighters quickly doused the flames, but the smell of burnt plastic and fiberglass permeated the air.

No one was injured in the blaze and the 32-foot boat did not sink. Damage was estimated at $40,000, firefighters said. The boat is valued at $60,000, according to a fire report.

A fire investigator was summoned to the scene, firefighters said. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

The Ashtabula Coast Guard also came to the scene.

"We received a call that a sailboat was on fire," said Petty Officer John Stottmann. "The Ashtabula Fire Department had already extinguished the blaze so we made sure everyone was safe."

Adley said Bobulsky was at the boat earlier in the day, but did not take it out on the water. He left word about the fire with his office staff in Ashtabula, he said.

Firefighters left the scene at 3:50 p.m.

According to the Ohio Fire Marshal, most boat fires can be put out rapidly if the boater acts immediately. Having a fully charged fire extinguisher on hand is vital. Take the time to make sure that everyone on the boat knows to use the fire extinguisher. To further prevent boat fires place oily rags in covered trash cans or dispose of them on shore; and store propane fuel for stoves in a secure area.

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