PORT TOWNSEND — A fire on the downtown Thomas Oil pier Tuesday is being blamed on an alleged illegal salvaging operation.
According to Fire Department officials, unknown individuals were allegedly attempting to steal metal boat cleats from the dilapidated dock when the blaze broke out.
“It was started by somebody using a cutting torch to remove some boat cleats,” Fire Department Lt. John Franklin said.
Firefighters were dispatched to the downtown property — currently owned by the Northwest Maritime Center — at 12:11 p.m. when employees of Puget Sound Express, 431 Water St., reported smoke coming from the end of the adjacent pier.
Firefighters waited until the department’s new fire boat arrived before walking out to the blaze on the pier, which is rotten in places.
—————–The rest of this story appears in the Wednesday Peninsula Daily News Jefferson County edition. Click on “Subscribe” to get the PDN delivered to your home or office.