Skipper Alicia Eells says all the Golden Dream’s electronics and navigation were destroyed by the fire, along with most of her belongings. Whether or not the boat is saved depends on the engine. “If the engine is gone, there’s no point,” she says. (KCAW/Woolsey)

A commercial troller caught fire and burned in Sitka’s ANB Harbor Thursday evening (2-23-23). The boat’s skipper hasn’t yet determined if the boat is a total loss.

The Sitka Fire Department received the call at about 9:20 p.m. on Thursday, that a vessel was on fire in ANB Harbor.

Firefighters were on scene just eleven minutes later, and found the fiberglass troller Golden Dream fully involved, with visible flames in the cabin. A Good Samaritan was already at work attempting to douse the fire with a harbor hose. Nine firefighters and one EMT fought the blaze with a portable pump, and brought it under control in a few minutes.

David Johnson, with the Sitka Fire Department, says the fire likely started in the exhaust plenum – the shaft from the engine room to the smokestack that is supposed to protect the rest of the vessel from heat.

The vessel’s skipper, Alicia Eells, agrees with that conclusion. Eells told KCAW she had fished that day aboard the Golden Dream, tied it up in ANB, and then left to go play volleyball at the Hames Center. When she was notified of the emergency and returned to the boat, she found that the blaze had consumed the Golden Dream’s cabin, its navigation and electronics, and most of her belongings.

The Golden Dream caught fire while its skipper was off the boat. Firefighters suspect a hot exhaust stack, after a day’s fishing. The blaze was mostly confined to the cabin. (KCAW/Woolsey)

Eells said that whether or not the Golden Dream can be saved depends on whether the engine survived the fire. “If the engine is gone, there’s no point,” she said. 

Eells bought the boat last year and said she had a good season, and was looking forward to another. A GoFundMe page has been started on her behalf, with a $20,000 goal.