The Sitka Fire Department (KCAW file photo)

A small commercial fishing vessel caught fire on Eliason Harbor Thursday morning. At around 7:30, the Sitka Fire Department responded to a call from crew members of a troller battling a small blaze inside the boat.

Craig Warren is a senior engineer with the Sitka Fire Department. He says the cause of the fire is still under investigation but the fire occurred near a diesel heater.

“That was likely the cause of the heat but we don’t know what the first material ignited was yet,” Warren said.

The fire was small and no one was injured due to the fire. It was contained inside by a deckhand who sprayed water on the fire from outside.

“He was spraying water into the house in through the house, in the main door, trying to keep the fire back until we could get in,” Warren said. “But he couldn’t get around the corners. So, until the firefighters showed up, he was doing the best he could to keep the flames back.”

Once the fire department arrived, volunteers continued to fight the fire from the outside until they could safely go in. Warren says that if it were up to the fire department, heaters in boats would be turned off when they’re not attended but he knows that’s what keeps crews warm and dry on the water.