Over 800 evacuated from Staten Island ferry due to engine room fire

The Staten Island Ferry Sandy Ground during sea trials off the Florida coast (Photo: Eastern Shipbuilding Group)

The Staten Island Ferry division of the City of New York Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) has confirmed that over 800 passengers and crew needed to be evacuated from one of its commuter vessels after a fire broke out in its engine room on Thursday, December 22.

The 4,500-passenger ferry Sandy Ground was underway between Manhattan and Staten Island when the blaze ignited at around 17:18 local time on Thursday, New York City Fire Department officials told local media.

The vessel had to be temporarily anchored near Bayonne, New Jersey, to allow local firefighting teams to extinguish the blaze.

The 866 passengers were provided with lifejackets. Some of them were brought aboard waiting harbour tugs, which in turn transferred them to other ferries that were despatched to assist in the rescue effort.

Another group of passengers remained on the ferry as it was pushed by other vessels towards Staten Island for disembarkation.

Five of Sandy Ground‘s passengers and crew suffered injuries related to smoke inhalation. Three of them were transported to various hospitals to undergo treatment.

The firefighting effort was successfully completed within hours despite the prevailing low visibility in the area at the time.

Officials of the New York City government and the US Coast Guard will soon begin investigating the events that led to the fire.

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