Crews spend hours putting out fire on 56-foot shrimp trawler

Shrimp boat on fire on Dec. 17, 2019. (Photo: Carteret County Fire Marshall Eddie Lewis)

Emergency crews from several departments battled a boat fire near the Core Creek bridge Tuesday evening.

Carteret County Fire Marshal Eddie Lewis says the fire was reported at about 4:45 p.m. and crews arrived to find a shrimp trawler burning near the dock.

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The trawler– which Lewis says he can comfortably confirm was a fishing vessel — was a 1987 built, 56-foot boat named the Melissa Ann II– and was occupied by two people at the time of the fire .

Timothy Gaskill and Phillip Willis were on board shrimping. Lewis says they were in the bottom of the boat working on a hydraulic motor that had come apart and were trying to get it back together using a grinder when a spark set the boat aflame.