Cambridge fire crews were called in to tackle the fire sparked by an electric heater


Two vessels went up in flames on Tuesday evening after a fire began onboard a houseboat in Hartford Marina near Cambridge.

An electric heater sparked the initial blaze, with it later spreading to a 27ft yacht moored alongside.

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The houseboat’s owner had a lucky escape after being woken by the smoke alarm to find his vessel on fire.

He attempted tackle the blaze himself with a fire extinguisher but the smoke was too heavy and he was forced to abandon the vessel.

Fire crews from Huntingdon, St Ives and Cambridge attended the scene and worked hard to cool cylinders which were on the houseboat to prevent them from exploding and stop the fire spreading to other boats in the marina.

Station commander Martin Ockenden said: “This was a particularly challenging incident due to limited access to the boats.

“The crews did well to cool the cylinders and contain the fire to prevent it spreading further.

“This incident highlights the importance of having working smoke alarms in houseboats. In this case the alarm alerted the resident who was sleeping at the time the fire started.

“Care should also be taken when using electric heaters. Switch them off when you leave the home or go to bed.”

As a result of the fire, one other houseboat suffered heat damage to parts of the exterior.