Barge catches fire on Delaware Bay

May 23, 2022

The Coast Guard is asking mariners to avoid the Delaware Bay south of Port Mahon after a barge fire May 23.

Coast Guard watchstanders, firefighters with Memorial Fire Co. in Slaughter Beach and Bowers Fire Co. responded to the bay about 1 a.m. for a barge on fire, officials said. A total of six fire boats fought the blaze that continued through dawn.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Emergency Response Team is monitoring the Delaware Bay by air and patrol boat for environmental impacts caused by the fire, which discharged a plume of smoke, said Michael Globetti, DNREC spokesman. While smoke was visible from the beach, he said, air quality monitoring stations in the region showed low readings of particulate matter. Data is available to the public at or

The barge was carrying household appliances and scrap metal when it caught on fire. The USCG and DNREC crews are looking for debris from the barge, and whether wildlife have been effected as a result of the fire. As of Monday afternoon, Globetti said, they had observed no debris in the water from the vessel and there have been no reports of impacted wildlife.

There were also no injuries reported and the fire remains under investigation, Coast Guard officials said.

“We’re working closely with the Coast Guard, Bowers Fire Company and other response agencies to assess any possible environmental impacts to the bay,” said DNREC Emergency Response Chief Jamie Bethard. “While there have not been any significant areas of impact observed during the search, we’ll continue to monitor the situation.”



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